Belarus-European Union border crisis in 2021

Article

November 30, 2021

The 2021 Belarus-European Union border crisis is a migrant crisis caused by the influx of tens of thousands of migrants mainly from Iraq and Africa via Belarus to the borders of Lithuania, Latvia and Poland. The crisis was triggered by the deteriorating relations between Belarus and the European Union following the 2020 Belarusian presidential election, the 2020-2021 Belarusian protests, the Ryanair Flight 4978 incident and the attempted repatriation of Kristina Chimanowskaya. The crisis began in the summer of 2021. Belarusian President Lukashenko threatened to send human traffickers, drug smugglers and armed migrants to Europe. Later, Belarusian authorities and state-owned tourism companies, along with some airlines operating from the Middle East, began promoting travel to Belarus by increasing flights from the Middle East and offering visas to those who ostensibly bought them for hunting purposes. The social media group provided additional fraudulent advice on cross-border laws to prospective migrants trying to go to Germany. Those who arrived in Belarus were instructed how and where to break through the European Union borders, what to inform the border guards on the other side, and were sometimes guided by security guards to the border. However, those who did not pass this process often ended up staying at the border. Belarusian authorities did not accept humanitarian aid from Poland, and in some cases beaten migrants who could not cross the border. Poland, Lithuania and Latvia describe the crisis as a hybrid war induced by the trafficking of migrants, urging Brussels to intervene in the crisis as Belarus is fighting the European Union. The three EU member states, which border Belarus, issued a joint statement condemning the hybrid warfare of sending migrants across their borders. The crisis has led the governments of the three countries to declare a state of emergency in the border area or, in Lithuania, the whole country. The Lithuanians have succeeded in stopping the flow of migrants, but the other two countries have not succeeded in doing so. In the wake of the crisis, Lithuania and Poland announced that they had decided to build a border wall on their border with Belarus. Although the populations of the European Union member states affected generally support special measures, human rights groups believe that unless Lithuanian and Polish border guards take sufficient measures to provide food, water and shelter for migrants who have been the subject of orders of the European Court of Human Rights, He expressed concern over the policy of refusing asylum seekers and denying asylum applications.

Background

Alexander Lukashenko has ruled Belarus since 1994. The Lukashenko regime, accused of fraudulent elections in previous elections, has been heavily criticized by European Organization for Security and Cooperation observers who have been restricted from monitoring elections. He claimed that Lukashenko won the 2020 Belarusian presidential election, the sixth presidential election he participated in. However, this victory was not officially recognized by the United States, the European Union, Great Britain, Canada, and its Western allies. According to an independent digital exit poll, Lukashenko may have lost to Svyatlana Chihanowskaya in the election, and the official election results, which were particularly controversial not only at the national level but also in a number of single constituencies, were highly controversial. U.S. sanctions against Belarusians believed to be responsible for “violence, repression and election fraud”

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