Lithuania Enacts Law Restricting Migrant Rights Amid Belarus Influx.

Lithuania's president has signed into law a measure that restricts migrants' rights and speeds up the processing of asylum claims amid a flurry of illegal crossings into the EU country from Belarus.

Almost 2,100 migrants have entered Lithuania from Belarus illegally this year, including 1,400 this month alone, according to the Lithuanian border guard service -- a move seen as revenge by Minsk after the European Union slapped more sanctions on Alyaksandr Lukashenka's repressive regime.

President Gitanas Nauseda signed off on the legislation but called it "flawed" and asked for parliament to amend it later this year.

The law, passed by Lithuania's parliament, the Seimas, on July 13, allows for migrants to be detained for up to six months and makes it harder for them to appeal against asylum rejections.

Some 84 lawmakers approved the measures in the 141-seat Seimas, while one voted against and there were 58 abstentions.

Nauseda said that vetoing the law altogether would have sent a "completely unacceptable signal to the countries of origin."

Lukashenka has repeatedly threatened to allow migrants to cross into the EU in response to sanctions imposed on Minsk following a disputed presidential election last year and a subsequent crackdown on protesters.

Lithuania, which has a nearly 680-kilometer border with Belarus, has accused Minsk of deliberately sending the migrants -- a large number of whom are from Iraq -- across its borders and called the move "hybrid aggression."

The government has said the law will allow asylum claims to be processed in 10 days in order to swiftly separate genuine refugees from economic migrants.

Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis visited Iraq last week to persuade Baghdad to establish an effective readmission policy.
The law has also attracted criticism from rights activists.

"Today we have the law which violates fundamental principles of human rights and humanity," Akvile Krisciunaite, a researcher at Diversity Development Group, told AFP.

"Human rights are the same for everyone, whether we are talking about migrants or Lithuanian citizens."

With reporting by AFP and AP

Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/

Related news
Putin Oversees Crowded Russian Naval Parade Despite Pandemic.

Putin Oversees Crowded Russian Naval Parade Despite Pandemic.

President Vladimir Putin praised Russia's naval capabilities during a large warship parade in the port city of St. Petersburg, which drew throngs of spectators despite high infection rates and record deaths from the coronavirus.

Radio Free Europe

Belarus Shuts Down More NGOs Amid Continued Crackdown.

Belarus Shuts Down More NGOs Amid Continued Crackdown.

Belarus has forced the closure of 15 more nongovernmental organizations as strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka's crackdown against pro-democracy activists, the independent media, and civil rights groups continues to intensify.

Radio Free Europe

COVID-19 Pinging: Staycation staff suffer

COVID-19 Pinging: Staycation staff suffer

The British Riviera is experiencing closures at the height of summer holidays due to staff shortages from pinging. An estimated 23 million British people are expected to have a staycation this summer, as COVID restrictions continue – limiting fore...

COVID-19 Pinging: small businesses struggle

COVID-19 Pinging: small businesses struggle

Independent business and the self-employed are struggling with the track and trace system and can't afford to wait to be added to an exemption list. Sky's Ashna Hurynag has been speaking to those in retail who are struggling because of the high nu...

4

Floods And Landslides Leave Dozens Dead in Maharashtra, India.

Floods And Landslides Leave Dozens Dead in Maharashtra, India.

Torrential monsoon rains caused chaos across the western state of Maharashtra, bringing as much as 23 inches of water in just 24 hours.» Subscribe to NBC News: » Watch more NBC video: NBC News Digital is a collection of innovative and powerful new...

Gutfield blasts CNN over crime coverup

Gutfield blasts CNN over crime coverup

‘The Five’ discusses the media’s response to the rise of violent crime Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service delivering breaking news as wel...

GOP governor is fed up with unvaccinated people

GOP governor is fed up with unvaccinated people

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey spoke out against the unvaccinated population in Alabama and says it's time to start blaming them for not doing their part in the pandemic. #CNN #News

FACT CHECK: Taliban Claim Brutal Execution Video is ‘Fake,’ But Witnesses Step Up.

FACT CHECK: Taliban Claim Brutal Execution Video is ‘Fake,’ But Witnesses Step Up.

On July 13, CNN reported that the Taliban last month executed 22 Afghan special forces commandos who had surrendered in the town of Dawlat Abad in Faryab province. The story featured low-quality video purportedly showing the scene. In the beginnin...