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2021.10.08 13:07

Report on dire migrant conditions in Lithuania ‘outdated’, says Interior Ministry

BNS2021.10.08 13:07

A report on poor migrant conditions  issued by the Ombudsmen’s Office of the Lithuanian parliament is “oudated”,  the Interior Ministry has said.

On Thursday, the Ombudsmen’s Office published a report on “inhumane and degrading” living conditions faced by irregular migrants in Lithuania. It found that the people sleep in damp, cold, and crowded rooms. They lack proper food, hot water, and medication, while their special needs are being ignored.

Read more: Migrants kept in ‘inhuman and degrading’ conditions in Lithuania, says watchdog

The Interior Ministry issued a comment on Thursday evening, saying it has not yet read the report, but “extracts published by the media lead to the conclusion that the information contained in the report is outdated”.

“The situation regarding the accommodation of irregular migrants has changed and continues to change every day. Problems are being resolved very quickly in cooperation with the Red Cross and other organisations,” the ministry said.

It added that Lithuania is combating the consequences of people smuggling organised by the Belarusian regime and “provides, to the best of its ability, the basic living conditions to people who have crossed into the country”.

According to the Ombudsmen’s report, detention conditions of irregular migrants in Lithuania qualified as inhumane treatment prohibited by the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

According to the report, Lithuanian authorities have failed to adequately ensure the asylum seekers’ rights to hygiene, warm clothing and footwear, as well as their right to privacy. Similarly, the Ombudsmen’s office indicated violations of the migrants’ right to a proper diet and healthcare in temporary accommodation facilities.

Lithuania, Latvia and Poland have been facing a surge in irregular migration from Belarus in the past several months. Nearly 4,200 people, mostly Iraqi citizens, have crossed into Lithuania from Belarus so far this year.

Vilnius accuses the Minsk regime of orchestrating the unprecedented migration influx, calling it "hybrid aggression."

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