R. Tamašunienė: Lithuania will always be safe haven for persecuted foreign citizens


2020 08 12


"We are closely monitoring the situation in Belarus and have prepared a plan of measures for the possible event of an increase in the number of Belarusian citizens applying for asylum in Lithuania. Persons who will apply for asylum and qualify for refugee status will be granted such asylum in our country”, – says Minister of the Interior Rita Tamašunienė.

On Monday, the Minister of the Interior discussed the situation in the neighboring country with representatives of the Migration Department, the State Border Guard Service and the Police Department.

The Minister expressed concerns about the actions of the Belarusian authorities to quell the protests: “It would not be the first time that the representatives of the Belarusian opposition are seeking asylum in Lithuania. Moreover, if that happens this time, both because of political circumstances and possible other threats, we are ready to help them until they have the opportunity to return home safely. "

Lithuania has offered asylum to Ukrainian citizens following the events in Ukraine in 2014.

According to the Lithuanian legislation, asylum can be granted in two forms - refugee status or subsidiary protection. 
Refugee status is granted to an asylum seeker who is at risk of persecution in the country because of his or her race, nationality, religion, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. 

Subsidiary protection is granted to an asylum seeker who does not qualify for a refugee status, but who is at risk of torture, the death penalty or danger to his or her liberty, health or life as a result of the ongoing war. 

Additionally, at today's meeting of the Government, it was decided to introduce another category of foreigners who are allowed to enter the Republic of Lithuania during a coronavirus emergency situation – foreigners arriving in the Republic of Lithuania on  humanitarian grounds, with the permission of the Minister of the Interior.

Those entering Lithuania will be subject to 14-day self-isolation