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2021.07.21 14:15

Despite earlier criticism, Lithuanian president signs law restricting migrant rights

LRT.lt2021.07.21 14:15

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda has signed a bill into law, restricting the rights of undocumented migrants. He has previously criticised the proposals for allegedly throwing human rights “into the trash bin”.

In a statement, the president’s office said that the rights of asylum seekers “must not be restricted more than necessary” and called on the parliament to remove the shortcomings in the law in the near future.

"Adopted by the Seimas under a fast-track procedure, the law is flawed in human rights terms," Nausėda said. "However, it would now be more dangerous to have a flawed policy on illegal migration."

Read more: Lithuanian president may veto migrant bill, says human rights ‘thrown into trash’

"At present, it is better to have such a law than to have no regulation providing for measures to deal with the emergency situation on the Lithuanian border with Belarus. This would send a completely unacceptable signal to the countries of origin of migration," he added.

The Seimas passed the amendments during an extraordinary session last week, in response to a growing influx of irregular migration from Belarus.

Among the stringent measures, the new legislation cuts down the processing time of asylum requests, limits the right of appeal, and legalises detentions of up to six months.

Non-governmental organisations say the amendments will violate human rights and put vulnerable people in danger. Lawyers also say the new legislation may run counter to the constitution.

Read more: No right to appeal and mass detentions: Lithuania's new migrant laws draw criticism

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