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Lithuania to vote on allowing collective expulsions of asylum seekers

Opposed by Amnesty International, the Council of Europe’s Committee for the Prevention of Torture and over 150 European NGOs, Lithuania’s parliamentarians are set to vote on amendments to the Lithuanian Law on the State Border, which would legalise the collective expulsions of asylum seekers. In essence, this could and inevitably will put vulnerable people in situations where they face the risk of torture and further persecution.

A reminder, via Amnesty: “International law prohibits collective expulsions and the return of anyone to a country where they could face serious human rights violations.”

“Rather than taking the urgent steps necessary to stop the widespread use of violence, intimidation and physical ill-treatment against people in the context of pushback operations, this law would effectively green-light torture.”

– Nils Muižnieks, Director of Amnesty International’s Europe Regional Office

A member of Global Lithuanian Leaders’ (GLL) migration group, has written that the practice echoes the oppressive policies of Hungary’s border, and that:

“Lithuania is increasingly associated with a selective rule of law”

Since August 2021, 20,100 people have been prevented from entering Lithuania via the Belarusian border. The proposed amendments will silently prevent people from applying for asylum in Lithuania, whilst the nation very publicly accepts refugees from Ukraine.

For an idea of what it’s like to live in Lithuania, read our AYS Special from last year: “They treat you like criminals”.

This article originally appeared in Are You Syrious?

Image: Ilgar Jafarov

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