TALLINN – The interior ministers of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Austria signed a joint statement on Friday to draw the attention of humanitarian organizations to the situation of the migrants suffering in a hybrid crisis along the Belarusian border and asking the organizations to rely only on official information in their activities.
"Today, Belarus is using people from third countries as weapons against the European Union, forcing them to cross the EU border. Today's crisis is brutal and inhumane, and that is why we also need the support of international aid organizations to resolve the difficult situation at the European Union's external borders," Estonian Interior Minister Kristian Jaani said according to spokespeople.
In their letter, the ministers stress that the situation has been artificially created by the Belarusian regime in order to exert political pressure on the European Union and its member states. In recent months, the Belarusian authorities have lured third-country nationals to Belarus, issued tourist visas to them, brought them to the border between the European Union and Belarus and forced them to cross the border illegally to Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.
Referring to the approaching winter, the ministers ask the aid agencies to liaise with the Belarusian authorities and other necessary actors to assist those people who have been put in inhumane conditions in the crisis orchestrated by the Belarusian authorities. The Latvian, Lithuanian and Polish authorities will also continue to provide humanitarian and medical assistance where possible.
"It's important to me and my colleagues in resolving this crisis that official information be used as much as possible so that people in both the source countries and Belarus can get objective and correct information, not disinformation disseminated by the Lukashenko regime," Jaani emphasized.
The letter is addressed to the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UNICEF, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Doctors Without Borders.