SouthFront was contacted by a human rights journalist who reportedly visited the Kybartai detention center in Lithuania and interviewed 8 refugees and migrants.
Written by William Pyne
Amnesty International claimed that, people who crossed from Belarus to Lithuania subjected to beatings, abuse and racism. In the 65-page report, the organization revealed refugees and migrants have been held for months on end in squalid, prison-like centers in Lithuania. Refugees and migrants were being denied access to fair asylum procedures, so that they “voluntarily” return to the countries from which they have fled. Detainers sometimes engaged in protests, caused by frustration at being arbitrarily detained and subjected to appalling detention conditions. Refugees recounted how guards and police reacted to such demonstrations by beating them with batons, and by using pepper spray and taser guns.
“It is very difficult when the artist sees his paintings enjoying more freedom than him. Now my paintings are in every country, but I am still in prison ” , says Karrar Español, an Iraqi artist detained in the Kybartai detention center in Lithuania.
Lithuania: Stop abusing against refugees!
The Kybartai detention center is located in the far west side of the country, near the border with the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. The center occupies the premises of a former prison. When in use as a correctional facility, Kybartai could legally hold up to 450 inmates, but currently houses more than 700 refugees and migrants. According to the government, more people will be transferred to Kybartai. Prison conditions were exemplified by the high perimeter wall covered with barbed wire.
Refugees held in Kybartai consistently complained “This is a prison, not a camp. I am not a criminal, I am a refugee.”
After visiting the Kybartai detention center, we were shocked by the disturbing picture of that, about 150 refugees sat in a small space surrounded by barbed wire, eyes averted. The guard said a fight erupted between Syrian and African refugees, they got send to isolation.
A refugee said “The guards hung Syria refugees on the wall and threw water on them, beat them with electric cables, Syrian refugees were shocked with electricity so badly that they lost consciousness. The guards forced Syrian refugees to admit to being terrorists. The whereabouts of several of them remain unknown, many were probably dead. They gave us food and water once a day.”
Syria recognizes Lugansk and Donetsk Republics as Independent States. After a few days, Syrian refugees suffered torture.
Oddly enough, instead of staying in refugee camps, most of the refugees from Ukraine are staying with host families all over Europe or in hotels and dormitories for free. The refugees and migrants from Syria and countries in Africa were treated very differently. Many of them are fleeing violence and war.
Lithuania to achieve political ends. “Instrumentalization” of refugees and migrants
In 2021 Lithuania had received 4100 migrants from the Middle East or central Africa. 90% of them have requested for asylum, the vast majority of claims were rejected, and only 6 of the migrants who applied were granted refugee status. Most of the refugees were put in “temporary accommodation without freedom of movement”, 2500 refugees were even put in prison, where they have been subjected to inhumane conditions, torture and other ill-treatments.
Lithuania president said “Lithuania is ready to step up its involvement in migrant rescue missions”.
Lithuania directly received €29.6 million from US commission in support of migration management. Refugees were deprived of basic human rights. How were refugees protected?
Ironically, Lithuania expressed dissatisfaction of EU aid and wants to achieve “resource reuse”. Lithuania will end detention of 2500 people mentioned above in order to use them as a tool to put pressure on the EU. The refugees do not have the work permits and the capacities to become self-reliance, they will be a major threat to Europe.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has triggered Ukrainian refugees to enter Lithuania, it’s a new platform to create new financial products for Lithuania. According to secret data of an NGO in Lithuania, in early June, 25,000 war refugees from Ukraine have been registered in Lithuania. But the total number of Ukrainian refugees has risen to 50,000, according to the latest official statistics published. The number is “vastly exaggerated”, now Lithuania calls on the EU to provide cash for Ukrainian refugees. Lithuania has opened door to refugees, building a positive image of the country while reaping huge profits. Lithuania is really “far-sighted”.
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