VILNIUS – Lithuania has decided to urgently organize the distribution of humanitarian assistance packages for illegal migrants pushed-back on the Lithuanian-Belarusian border.
The decision was made during Thursday's meeting attended by Interior Minister Agne Bilotaite, Social Security and Labor Minister Monika Navickiene as well as representatives of state institutions and NGOs, the Interior Ministry said.
Under the plan, some 5,000 packages will be prepared by the end of this year, using the existing reserves and by holding necessary public procurements. International assistance being received to manage the migration crisis will also be used to prepare humanitarian packages.
Up until now, the ministry says, officers working on the border have provided pushed-back migrants with food, water and medical assistance, when necessary, but now humanitarian assistance will be provided in a systematic and well-organized manner.
„We cannot allow illegal migrants to continue flooding our country, therefore, we will continue our push-back policy. But we need, wherever possible, to provide assistance to people who have been pushed into this dire situation by the Belarusian regime. We do hope for assistance and action from NGOs operating in Belarus in taking care of migrants in their country who have become the regime's instruments," Bilotaite was quoted as saying in a statement issued today by the Interior Ministry.
As weather conditions are getting worse and there's been lately an increase in attempts by illegal migrants to cross the Lithuanian border, Lithuania will start distributing humanitarian packages with dry ratio, water and basic items.
Since early August, Lithuania has prevented some 5,008 illegal migrants from entering the country from Belarus in non-designated places, and has also let 156 people in on humanitarian grounds.
Lithuania's Migration Department has already processed 1,853 out of 3,148 asylum requests from illegal migrants who crossed the Lithuania, and only six people have been given asylum in Lithuania.