Lithuania: migration from Belarus on the rise
Since the plane hijacking and the escalation of the conflict between Vilnius and Minsk, growing numbers of migrants are crossing the border from Belarus into Lithuania. Among them are not just fleeing regime critics but also people who have travelled all the way from Russia, Iraq or Iran. Lithuania suspects that Belarus is deliberately allowing people to cross. The national media discuss what action must be taken.
Pin our hopes on European solidarity
There are currently no legal means to stop Belarus from taking such deliberate steps, writes law professor Lyra Jakulevičienė on Lrt:
“Belarus would be obliged to take back the illegal migrants who have come from its territory if it had signed a repatriation agreement with Lithuania. But there is no such agreement. ... So we should be prepared for even larger numbers and to take in more migrants from Belarus. If the situation continues to deteriorate, there is still hope that the EU states will show solidarity and lend a helping hand. Like what happened recently with the transfer of refugees from Greece and Italy to other EU countries.”
A breeding ground for panicmongers
We must be wary of disinformation about those seeking protection, warns Diena:
“Tent camps are an ideal base for information attacks. In the refugee camps, tired and desperate faces attract the subjective gaze of the cameras. And they are an inexhaustible source of disinformation. The newsrooms will no doubt receive several anonymous reports of crimes being committed in the camps and attacks on local residents. As in 2015, the artificially exacerbated refugee crisis will also become an information crisis if it is not easy to distinguish the real political refugees from the 'fakes' and thereby prevent the stoking of fears.”