Migration: how to respond to Lukashenka's ploys?
The situation at the EU's external borders with Belarus remains tense. Poland wants to build a wall, and Lithuania is also turning away most migrants. In these countries' media discussion of how to deal with the people who are besieging their countries' borders as a result of dictator Alexander Lukashenka's "hybrid warfare" continues.
Time for self-defence
Columnist Vidas Rachlevičius argues in Delfi that the concerns about human rights take on anti-state dimensions when it comes to border defence:
“It was a naïve illusion to pin our hopes on Brussels, because that's where the signals come from that it's every man for himself. ... Lithuania has a right to its border, and must defend it. It is clear that a hybrid war is being waged against Lithuania. ... In my opinion, under such circumstances all the speeches by academics and human rights activists are pointless. The report from the Human Rights Office of the Seimas Ombudsman, for example, which manipulatively claims that Lithuania is violating international conventions is at the very least propaganda, or to be precise, an anti-state action.”
Offer prospects for staying instead of just prejudice
Lithuania urgently needs a discussion about integration, Lrt warns:
“The migration crisis is not over, and the migrants who are already here are not going away either. But there is silence, no one is opposing the radical opinions of certain politicians. They spread statements that contradict European values, portray all migrants as criminals, terrorists or crooks, turning the migrant issue into one of the biggest problems for Lithuanian society. ... But not all of them want to continue fleeing, some just want to live and work. ... So far, however, they have encountered only hatred, because we have segregated and branded them. ... And our politicians are afraid. Of the narrow-mindedness of our society.”
Poland disgraced by reports of pushbacks
Dominik Uhlig, editor at Gazeta Wyborcza, appeals to the Polish government for a more humane border policy:
“When I read reports of migrants complaining about being beaten on the Polish side and forced to return to Belarus, I feel it's a disgrace to the Polish uniform. At the same time I ask myself: what will Lukashenka do with those who have returned? Will he welcome these people back to Minsk, then give them plane tickets and send them back to Iraq? I have no illusions; this dictator treats people like objects. Even the determination of the Polish border guards is not going to change that.”