Amnesty: Latvia Mistreating Migrants on Belarus Border

Amnesty International has alleged in a new report that migrants trying to cross from Belarus to Latvia have been "violently" beaten and humiliated by border authorities, with some even subjected to alleged torture.

Amnesty: Latvia Mistreating Migrants on Belarus Border
Image credit: dw

Facts

  • Amnesty International has alleged in a new report that migrants trying to cross from Belarus to Latvia have been "violently" beaten and humiliated by border authorities, with some even subjected to alleged torture.
  • Latvia has denied claims that officials used excessive force, instead referring to the migration as "illegal crossings," despite the possibility of violating EU law.
  • The Director of Amnesty International's European Institutions Office, Eve Geddie, has claimed that "Latvia has given refugees and migrants a cruel ultimatum" which often leads to "detention, unlawful returns, and torture."
  • In reply, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs tweeted that "already for some time [Amnesty International] has lost any credibility and this report further proves complete degradation of [a] once respected human rights organization. Latvia rejects these bogus accusations."
  • To date, Latvia has provided refuge or given safe passage to over 35K refugees from the war in Ukraine and has also in the past - along with Lithuania and Poland - accused Belarus of using migrants as part of a "hybrid warfare" against the EU.

Sources: BBC News, Amnesty, EngLSM, and DW.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by Amnesty. Refugees and migrants have been brutally treated by Latvian border control while being arbitrarily held at undisclosed sites in Latvian forests. This report follows similar reports from Belarus, Poland, and Lithuania in what is a clear breach of EU and international law. This is an egregious violation of fundamental human rights.
  • Narrative B, as provided by Eng.LSM. The report makes inflammatory allegations of widespread border abuse based on the testimony of only 17 people - most of whom were Iraqi nationals who had very little idea of the legality of their crossing. Amnesty International has seen its reputation decline in recent months over its coverage of Ukraine. This report is unfair and out of context.