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2021.08.03 14:55

Lithuanian border guards given right to use ‘mental and physical’ force against migrants

BNS2021.08.03 14:55

A document signed by Lithuanian Interior Minister Agnė Bilotaitė on Monday evening authorised border guards to use “mental and physical force” against irregular migrants.

Under the law, force can be used against people resisting officers, as well as during detentions if they resist and to prevent criminal or administrative offences.

Laurynas Kasčiūnas, chairman of the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defence, told BNS on Tuesday the principle of proportionality will apply.

"The behavior of illegal migrants has to be taken into account. Whether they comply with the demands or don’t, and whether there is any resistance or not. That will determine the measures used by officers," the lawmaker said, adding that such measures could have been employed earlier.

Read more: Lithuania publishes 'likely proof' of Belarusian guards directing migrants

"First, our absorption capacity is limited. In other words, what we see in the camps, stronger measures are already needed to be used,” he said. “Second. I think Lukashenko's hints about armed jihadists and that such people might cross Lithuania, is also one of the factors to employ such measures.”

Lithuania announced on Monday evening that the authorities were given the right to push irregular migrants back to Belarus and divert them to border checkpoints and diplomatic representations where they could ask for asylum.

The announcement came shortly following Monday's visit of European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson to Lithuania.

Read more: Lithuania to push undocumented migrants back to Belarus, divert to border checkpoints

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