Migrant situation on Latvia-Belarus border still tense

Take note – story published 1 year ago

The overall situation on the border of Latvia-Belarus is tense throughout the year, Deputy Chief of State Border Guard Ivars Ruskulis told the Saeima Defense, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee on Wednesday, May 10.

This year 330 persons have fled arbitrarily from the asylum seeker accommodation center "Mucenieki". This includes persons who have not been prevented from crossing the border of Latvia-Belarus for humanitarian reasons this year. It shows that it is not important for these persons to comply with the legal framework of Latvia, which determines the procedures for granting asylum. Instead, they just go to Western Europe in search of a better life, said Ruskulis.

116 of these persons were later detained in Lithuania and returned to Latvia, where they were placed in special centers.

Ruskulis also pointed out that the overall situation on the border of Latvia-Belarus is tense throughout the year. In the first days of May, Belarus had prepared a 'surprise' with very high numbers of illegal immigrants trying to enter Latvia, but the border guard has managed the critical situation.

This year, a total of 2,623 people have been prevented from crossing the border of Latvia-Belarus, but for humanitarian reasons 177 people have been admitted to Latvia, and housed in accommodation centers for detained foreigners.

Last year a total of 5,286 people attempted to illegally cross the border of Latvia-Belarus were prevented, while 217 people were allowed entry for humanitarian reasons.

As the summer approaches, the risks of illegal immigration on the border with Belarus are likely to increase, the head of the State Border Guard Guntis Pujāts told LETA.

On August 10, 2021, the government decided to announce an emergency near the Latvian-Belarusian border in the municipalities of Ludza and Krāslava, as well as in Daugavpils. It has been extended several times and is now in force until August 10.

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