MINSK, 22 July (BelTA) – The BelTA news agency asked the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to comment on the ambiguous amendments to the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens signed by Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, an ardent advocate of human rights.
"We have made sure once again that the Lithuanian political leadership absolutely does not care about the rights of people, whether in Belarus, Iraq or Syria. Rhetoric is one thing. Their actions paint quite a different picture, unfortunately,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. “The other day we all witnessed the inhumane, mocking treatment by the Lithuanian border guards of the Iraqis, who are forced to look for a better life through no fault of theirs, who tried to get asylum and shelter in Lithuania, a prosperous and decent, as they thought, European country. "
After that horrific case, the amendments to the law just complement the obvious picture, the ministry said. "It makes no sense to list the provisions of international law, bilateral and multilateral agreements, and simply moral standards that this law violates. Practically all of them,” the ministry's press service said.
“It is noteworthy that even in Lithuania there are sensible people who understand that this will actually legitimize the violation of human rights of those who are trying to escape the horrors and consequences of the war unleashed under the beautiful democratic slogans. Many Lithuanian lawyers have commented on the probable contradiction of the amendments to the Constitution of Lithuania. What do we hear from the Lithuanian leadership? ‘Indeed, the law is bad. Indeed, it has holes and violates human rights. But we should send a signal to refugee donor countries.' Indeed, what rights are we talking about when you have to send some signal!” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
The ministry noted the absence of criticism of these amendments from Western partners: "Where are reviews and investigations? It turns out that you can hold pregnant women at a gunpoint in a ‘democratic' country? Perhaps, international human rights organizations, which obviously have available resources for this, will even invent some exclusive mechanism for Lithuania to monitor and investigate human rights violations - after all, migrants are people too. Or they aren't?”
Vilnius' attempts to conceal the total degradation of their border service system are evident, the ministry pointed out. “They succeeded in doing it in the past, because Belarus protected the border for many years, and Lithuania had nothing to worry about. Later, however, Lithuanian politicians started, figuratively speaking, banging a landmine with a hammer. They succeeded. Now, they are acting all surprised,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted.
As BelTA has reported, the amendments to the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens deny asylum-seekers the right to appeal a court's decision to deny asylum. The terms for processing asylum applications were reduced in view of the state of emergency declared in the country in response to the influx of migrants.
According to human rights groups, the amendments legalize human rights violations. Lawyers also say the amendments might run counter to the constitution due to the decision to waive the right to appeal a court's decision to deny asylum.