Emergency near Latvia-Belarus border could be extended again

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The Ministry of Interior (IeM) considers it necessary to extend the state of emergency in the border area of Belarus. The Ministry will also encourage to specify the right of border guards to apply physical force and special means to stop the flow of illegal immigrants in the law, LETA reported January 3.

The IeM has now, in cooperation with the State Border Guard, prepared amendments to the Law on the State Border Guard, stipulating more clearly that the border guard is entitled to apply physical force and special means in order to prevent the attempted illegal crossing of the border or to immediately redirect the person to the State from which they came illegally crossing the border. This will be possible if a person does not do so on a voluntary basis following an oral order by the border guard to stop the infringement.

At the same time, the amendments provide for a ban on the immediate return of persons to the country from which they came if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the lives of those persons are actually endangered in that country, or if the person has visible disability poor, health or other physical incapacities, and may suffer disproportionately in the event of immediate diversion.

Given that the so-called hybrid attack on Latvia is still ongoing, the amendments require a broad discussion with the competent authorities and representatives of the public, following the procedure laid down. Similarly, in view of the rapidly continuing construction of the fence on the border, it is necessary to continue guarding the border in a reinforced regime, said IeM.

In view of the increased pressure on illegal immigration, the state of emergency in Belarus' border area, namely Ludza, Krāslava, Augšdaugava, as well as Daugavpils, announced on August 11, 2021, remains in force. The state of emergency has been extended several times and the last extension has been granted until February 10, 2023.

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