One of the preferred routes for migrants from the Middle East and South Asia to the European Union used to be the “Balkan Route”, which involved a short sea passage from Anatolia to the Greek islands, and then an overland trek (via buses chartered by NGOs) through the Balkans to the Austrian border. In the last couple of months that route has been superseded by one that involves airliner flights from the Middle East to Belarus, then overland passage to the border with Lithuania, and thus to the EU.
Now Lithuania is cracking down on the flow of immigrants, and is even — horrors! — building a fence. Hellequin GB, who translated the article below, includes this introductory note:
Now who would’ve thought that just a few days ago, after Lithuania announced the construction of a barbed wire fence with Belarus to block the illegal entry of migrants, mainly from Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, that they would go one step further and tighten their asylum policy. I’m flabbergasted.
The translated article from Kronen Zeitung:
Mass arrests of refugees in Lithuania
In the conflict with neighboring Belarus, Lithuania’s parliament has approved mass arrests of refugees. The new law stipulates that they can only be released six months after their arrival at the earliest. The rights of objection are also restricted for rejected asylum seekers.
The law is intended to deter migrants from coming via Belarus to Lithuania and thus to the EU, as Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite told parliament.
“Such migrants are not real asylum seekers”
Such migrants are not real asylum seekers, but a means for Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to destabilize the Baltic country. 84 MPs voted for the regulation. There was one vote against and five abstentions. The Lithuanian Red Cross and human rights organizations criticized the law. It violates Lithuania’s international obligations and the rights of refugees.
1,100 people came to Lithuania from Belarus in July. The Lithuanian government had repeatedly asserted that refugees were being brought by air from Baghdad and Istanbul to Belarus in Minsk and from there to the Lithuanian border. According to the Lithuanian border guard, more than 1,700 people came from Belarus to Lithuania this year, 1,100 of them in July alone. On Friday, Lithuania began building a 550-kilometer border fence with Belarus.
Lukashenko had announced that his country would no longer prevent migrants from crossing the border to Lithuania and thus to the EU. He was reacting to EU sanctions after Belarus forced a Ryanair flight to land in Minsk and then arrested the Belarusian opposition leader Roman Protassevich, who was on board.
Afterword from the translator:
Isn’t it funny — when Obama forced the Bolivian president’s plane to land in Vienna in 2015, because he thought Edward Snowden was aboard, there were no EU sanctions against the US. The moral double standards of those prostitutes in the EU, when it comes to bend over backwards for some political sodomy, makes even the Devil blush.