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2021.12.23 15:23

Lithuanian parliament allows restricting migrants’ movement for up to a year

BNS2021.12.23 15:23

On Thursday, the Lithuanian parliament voted in favour of restricting the movement of irregular migrants in Lithuania for up to a year.

Under the new amendments, if a person arrives in Lithuania during wartime, a state of emergency, or an extreme situation declared by the government, one can be detained for up to six months.

If the foreigners’ asylum applications are rejected or they fail to apply for asylum and the authorities are unable to expel them from Lithuania during the initial detention period, their right to free movement may be restricted for another six months.

Laurynas Kasčiūnas, chairman of the parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defence, said the legislation aims to make Lithuania unattractive to irregular migrants, as well as to prevent them from leaving their accommodation centres and travelling freely to Western Europe.

According to Vytautas Bakas, an opposition MP, the amendments bring Lithuania very close to pushing the human rights’ bar to historic lows.

According to the amendments, if the authorities' decision to expel foreign nationals, who arrived in Lithuania during a state of emergency, is not implemented within five years, they will be issued with a temporary residence permit, initially for a year.

The new legislation also sets the rules for providing humanitarian aid under a state of emergency or extreme situation.

Foreign nationals, who have entered Lithuania and have not applied for asylum, will have the right to receive free information about their legal situation in a language they understand. They will also be entitled to access to state-guaranteed legal aid, emergency medical assistance, and a food allowance if free meals are not guaranteed. Minors will have the right to education.

More than 4,200 irregular migrants have crossed into Lithuania from Belarus so far this year.

Lithuania and other Western countries accuse the Minsk regime of orchestrating the migrant crisis, calling it "hybrid aggression".

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