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Cuban Asylum Seekers Block Traffic at Lithuania-Belarus Border to Protest Deportation

Lithuanian border guards have detained a group of seven Cuban migrants, including a pregnant woman and a child, at the border with Belarus after they blocked traffic at the checkpoint in protest against their deportation.


Cuban Asylum Seekers Block Traffic at Lithuania-Belarus Border to Protest Deportation

The NGO Sienos Grupė (Border Group) reported the incident on Facebook last week, noting that the Cubans arrived in March and that their asylum applications have yet to be processed. The group includes a pregnant woman and possibly a victim of human trafficking.

 

The NGO highlighted that these individuals arrived legally through a border checkpoint in March, and one of the children has already attended school in Pabrade.

 

 "This behaviour of officials, when cooperating with the Belarusian regime in returning foreigners through the border control point, is incompatible with the protection of vulnerable persons. We urge the authorities to stop these actions as soon as possible," stated Sienos Grupė.

 

Giedrius Mišutis, a spokesman for the State Border Guard Service (VSAT), announced that they are attempting to send three adult men, two teenage girls, and two adult women back to Belarus, from where they entered Lithuania. Despite this, the group refuses to leave and remains at the Medininkai checkpoint. Mišutis explained that the Department of Migration reviewed their requests over the past three weeks and found no reason to grant them asylum. He emphasized that this situation is not unique, noting, "this is not the first or last case when these individuals cannot stay in the European Union and Lithuania. In this current situation, they will have to leave Lithuania."


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Cubans have been utilizing the visa-free travel system to Belarus to seek political asylum or refugee status in neighboring countries. This route has become popular since Serbia, another country that previously did not require visas for Cubans, implemented stricter border controls. Approximately a year ago, Serbia announced that Cuban passport holders must now apply for a visa to enter for tourism and business purposes, ending the visa-free regime. This change came after increasing pressure from EU member states on Serbia to align its visa policy with that of the EU.

 

Before this shift, Cuban travellers could enter Serbia with only an invitation letter.

 

The current situation at the Lithuania-Belarus border highlights the ongoing challenges faced by Cuban migrants seeking asylum in Europe, as they navigate complex and often restrictive immigration policies.

By fLEXI tEAM

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