With colder weather on Belarus-Lithuania border, NGO speaks of starving migrants there

Lithuanian legislators have been asked by the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Human Rights Monitoring Institute to explain how vulnerable migrants are being allowed to enter the country from Belarus on humanitarian grounds. The Lithuanian Interior Ministry has argued that families with children are not automatically considered vulnerable, LRT broadcaster and Domantė Platūkytė report.
On Wednesday, October 6, the NGO said it had received information about a group of allegedly starving and freezing migrants in Belarus, some 50 metres from the Lithuanian border. The non-governmental organisation also reminded of «deaths of irregular migrants at the Belarusian–Polish border». The Institute expressed «concerns that similar tragedies could also occur on Lithuania’s border with Belarus».
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A Sri Lankan migrant family with two young daughters was barred from entering Lithuania, according to the Human Rights Monitoring Institute, which casts doubt on the country’s commitment to admit migrants on humanitarian grounds. Also on Wednesday, the Human Rights Monitoring Institute urged the Human Rights Committee of the Lithuanian Seimas to explain the country’s admission of migrants on humanitarian grounds.
Ministry: Migrant families not automatically vulnerable
According to the Lithuanian Interior Ministry, border guard officers are trained to assess the vulnerability of a particular person or a migrant group. The decision to allow a person to cross the border is not made by a single officer but collectively, the ministry added. Families with children can also be barred from entering Lithuania, according to Raimundas Kalesnykas, advisor to the interior minister.
«A family is not automatically vulnerable. We consider migrants to be vulnerable when they need immediate humanitarian help, as in the case of health problems,» Kalesnykas noted.
The article originally appeared on LRT English: https://www.lrt.lt/en/news-in-english/19/1514398/migrants-allegedly-starving-in-belarus-next-to-lithuanian-border-ngo-says