Lithuania pushed five Afghan migrants back to Belarus on Thursday, shortly after they had crossed the border. The European Court of Human Rights said they should be allowed to stay, Euractiv.com reports.
“We intend to not allow the illegal migrants into Lithuanian territory,” the Lithuanian Border guard said in a statement. Lithuania has been pushing back migrants since early August, only a few dozen have been allowed in.
According to Euractiv.com, the migrants had tried to enter Lithuania unsuccessfully at least 10 times since 29 August, their lawyer said.
Their case had been brought to the European Court. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that the Afghan migrants were vulnerable following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan, and they were seeking international protection. “The applicants should not be removed to Belarus, provided that they are already on Lithuanian territory”, it said.
Border Guard Chief Rustamas Liubajevas said Lithuania was not obliged by the court to allow the migrants to enter from Belarus.
Throughout 2020, more than 4,100 migrants from the Middle East and South Asia have entered Lithuania from Belarus. The EU has accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of sending them over its borders with EU nations, in retaliation for sanctions imposed by the EU on Belarus.