Lithuania: Detained migrants subjected to beatings, abuse and racism, claims Amnesty
Lithuanian authorities have arbitrarily detained hundreds of migrants in prison-like centres the place they’ve been subjected to beatings, abuse and racism, in accordance with Amnesty Worldwide.
A report by the human rights group says refugees and migrants have been held for months in squalid circumstances, denied entry to truthful asylum procedures and subjected to different violations — within the hope that they might “voluntarily” go away the nation.
The remedy is in stark distinction to the welcome and generosity with which individuals fleeing the battle in Ukraine have been greeted within the EU, Amnesty says. It accuses the European Union of tacitly condoning Lithuania’s behaviour which it says flouts worldwide legislation.
The group interviewed tons of of people that it says had been detained unlawfully after travelling from international locations together with Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Nigeria, Syria and Sri Lanka.
Many individuals reported being overwhelmed, insulted and subjected to racially-motivated intimidation and harassment by guards, in accordance with the marketing campaign group. Entry to sanitary services and healthcare was inadequate, it provides.
“In Iraq, we hear about human rights and ladies’s rights in Europe. However right here there aren’t any rights,” stated a Yazidi lady who was detained within the Medininkai detention centre, close to the border with Belarus. It’s one in all two such centres the place Amnesty interviewed detainees.
Lithuania’s authorities didn’t instantly reply to Euronews’ request to touch upon these claims.
Complaints observe mass detention legislation
Amid an inflow of individuals arriving on the Belarusian border, in July 2021 Lithuania’s parliament permitted the mass detention of migrants and curbed their proper of attraction.
The transfer was meant to discourage excessive numbers crossing the border with Belarus however stirred an outcry.
Amnesty says hundreds of individuals, together with many who’re in want of worldwide safety, have been detained for extended intervals and denied correct entry to judicial procedures.
“I need to thank Lithuania for receiving us… However right here they don’t deal with us properly. This can be a jail, not a camp. In all places I look there may be barbed wire, why? I’m not a prison; I’m a refugee,” the group quotes a Syrian man as saying when he was interviewed in March.
It claims that hundreds of others have been violently pushed again throughout the border to Belarus, the place they haven’t any probability of in search of safety.
A whole bunch of individuals at Medininkai “sleep in containers on a soccer pitch”, Amnesty claims. Those that spoke to its researchers had been in a state of worry as a result of guards’ “aggressive behaviour”, it says. Detainees who took half in protests had been overwhelmed and subjected to pepper spray and taser weapons.
Amnesty says it has seen video footage wherein a bunch of black ladies had been compelled exterior into the chilly, half-naked with fingers tied, and locked in a container. This was not an remoted incident, it provides.
Different detainees have been positioned in isolation and bitten by canine in the event that they tried to flee, the group claims.
Lithuania has stated will it not search to increase detention past the present restrict of 12 months, Amnesty notes, however says the authorities have but to element how they may treatment violations dedicated.
EU’s ‘two-tier system’
The group blames the European Union for permitting a “two-tier system” to develop in latest months.
“Whereas Lithuania has rightly prolonged a heat welcome to tens of hundreds of individuals fleeing Ukraine, the expertise of the detainees we spoke with couldn’t be extra completely different. This raises critical considerations about institutional racism embedded inside Lithuania’s migration system,” stated Nils Muižnieks, Amnesty’s Europe Regional Director.
The human rights group accuses the European Fee of the “tacit endorsement” of what it calls Lithuania’s try to “legalise” pushbacks, computerized detention and the denial of asylum by means of home laws — in a “blatant” disregard for EU and worldwide legislation.
The European Border and Coast Guard (Frontex) can be accused of constant to assist Lithuanian border guards in actions which will contribute to human rights violations.
“The European Fee nonetheless has not taken any motion to carry Lithuania’s laws into line with EU legislation. For so long as the European Fee stands idle, it sends a message to member states that EU legal guidelines could be violated with impunity’,” stated Amnesty’s Nils Muižnieks.