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Lithuania’s President Considers Lifting State of Emergency at Belarus Border

The President of Lithuania Gitanas Nauseda believes that the state of the emergency on the country’s border with Belarus would not be extended after January 14, as currently, the situation permits such a decision to be abolished.

Authorities in Lithuania declared a state of emergency after the Baltic State saw a large number of migrants attempting to cross the common border between Lithuania and Belarus in an unlawful way, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

However, in case that the situation deteriorates, the state of emergency could be further extended.

“I think in a situation like the one we have now, it would certainly make sense to consider lifting the state of emergency because it is a really strong instrument that we have to use in exceptional circumstances,” Nauseda local media.

According to the Lithuanian President, the migration problem was “solved for now” after a total of 98 migrants from Iraq agreed to return home voluntarily on Sunday, as reported by La Prensa Latina.

The migrants were repatriated through an operation organized by the State Border Guard Service (VSAT), the Interior Ministry as well as Vilnius Airport.

As reported by local media in Lithuania, migrants who agreed to return to their origin countries are being paid 1,000 euros; however, nearly 540 migrants have left Lithuania by other means.

Nearly 4,200 persons who attempted to enter Lithuania illegally were taken to camps designed for persons who seek international protection.

Last month, Lithuania’s Ministry of the Interior stressed that authorities in Belarus ordered the removal of migrants who remain on the Polish-Belarusian border, which could lead to another influx of migrants in the EU countries through Belarusian countries.

In December, the Lithuanian Interior Minister, Agne Bilotaite, announced that they had received word about “Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko order to clear out illegal migrants from the warehouse at Bruzgi border crossing and Minsk, so there will be attempts soon to push these migrants into Lithuania, Poland, and Latvia.”

Human rights organizations and other organizations have often criticized the pushback of persons at the country’s borders.

Last month, a report published by the non-governmental organization focused on human rights, Amnesty International, the number of asylum seekers and migrants who tried to reach EU countries through the border between Belarus and Poland were subject of horrific torture, extortion, as well as inhuman conditions from authorities in Belarus at Poland’s border.

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