Migrant crisis on Belarus-EU border: political blackmailing and humanitarian crisis

October 04, 2021 15:07

Date and time: 
October 7th, 5 PM (UTC +3)

Background:

Against the background of the deteriorating relations between the Belarusian regime and its western neighbours, Lithuania, Poland and Latvia are now facing a growing flow of migrants from the Middle East and Africa. 81 such migrants were detained in Lithuania in the whole of 2020. Since the beginning of 2021, more than 4,000 migrants have been found. It is unknown how many migrants managed to quietly cross the border.

Due to the migration crisis, Poland has declared a state of emergency and Lithuania has requested assistance from Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. The construction of barbed wire fences at the border between the EU and Belarus began.

All these processes are accompanied by an information war in the media and mutual accusations. In Belarus, the state propaganda accuses Lithuania and Poland of violence against migrants. And the lives of migrants turn out to be a bargaining chip in a regional crisis.

Today’s open questions include:

  • How successfully do the western neighbors of Belarus cope with the migration crisis?
  • How to find a balance between respect for the rights of migrants and security and not succumbing to the regime's blackmail?
  • What will the migration crisis lead to in the future and how will it affect Minsk, Vilnius and Warsaw?

Speakers:

  • Nasta Lojka, human rights defender at Human Constanta
  • Vytis Jurkonis, lecturer at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius University; head of Freedom House's Vilnius office
  • Kamil Kłysiński, head analyst at the Centre for Eastern Studies (Warsaw, Poland)
  • Zmicier Mickiewicz, Belarus Security Blog's analyst, Belsat TV presenter

Moderators:

  • Vadim Mojeiko (BISS)
  • Anton Ruliou (Belarus in Focus Information Office/Press Club Belarus)

Working languages:

Belarusian and Russian with interpretation to English

How to participate (please note that you will not be able to join the meeting after it starts):

1.            To join the online discussion, please fill out the Google Form (https://forms.gle/ma8qPGy7oYqZVMEE6

2.            In response, you will receive a link inviting you to join a Zoom meeting (if you do not have Zoom, you may install it on your PC, phone or tablet following the same link. It is free and easy).

Organizers:

•             Belarus in Focus Information Office

•             Press Club Belarus

•             Nashe Mnenie

•             Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS)

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Short title: 
Migrant crisis on Belarus-EU border: political blackmailing and humanitarian crisis