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 © Karrar Español

5th July 2022, 14:33:17 UTC

Refugees and migrants in Lithuania are held in abysmal conditions and exposed to appalling abuse while many of those trying to enter the country from Belarus face illegal and violent pushbacks.

Thousands of people are currently detained in prison-like centres where they are denied access to fair asylum procedures, while there are reports of violence, including torture and other ill-treatment, unsanitary conditions and lack of access to medical and psychological care.

People protesting oppressive conditions have been beaten by guards with batons, pepper spray and taser guns and locked in isolation. There have been reports of dog attacks, harassment, sexual humiliation and racist abuse.

These are innocent people seeking safety, who have instead been imprisoned and abused in Europe.

Yet, in Lithuania and across Europe, this treatment is in stark contrast to the benevolence with which people fleeing the war in Ukraine have been received. We have seen in recent months that it is possible to welcome large numbers of refugees in Europe and provide shelter and safety.

The welcome shown to people fleeing Ukraine is how it should be done. For all refugees.

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