ECHR issues statement on treatment of migrants on Latvia-Belarus border

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The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) indicated an interim measure in the cases of two illegal migrant groups against Poland and Latvia concerning recent events at the borders of Poland and Latvia with Belarus, LETA reported August 25.

The measure will apply for a period of three weeks from August 25 until September 15, 2021, inclusive. 

The Court decided to request that the Polish and Latvian authorities provide all the applicants with food, water, clothing, adequate medical care and, if possible, temporary shelter. At the same time, it does not require that Poland or Latvia let the applicants enter their territories. 

The Court also noted that this decision was taken in accordance with the fact that the Contracting States have the right, as a matter of well-established international law and subject to their treaty obligations, including the Convention, to control the entry, residence, and expulsion of foreigners.

The applicants in both cases are allegedly seeking to enter either Latvia or Poland for international protection. However, they are currently unable either to enter those States or to return to Belarus. The applicants at the border between Poland and Belarus are 32 Afghan nationals. The applicants at the border between Latvia and Belarus are 41 Kurdish-ethnic Iraqi nationals. 

Since August 10, a total of 544 persons have been stopped from crossing the border from Belarus into Latvia.

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