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Iraq to protect its citizens stranded at Belarus-Lithuania border

August 13, 2021 at 10:37 am

Iraqi President Barham Salih during a press conference in Baghdad, Iraq on September 02, 2020 [Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency]

Iraqi President Barham Salih said yesterday that his country has taken important and urgent measures to protect Iraqi migrants stranded on the Belarusian-Lithuanian border.

In a phone call with Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, the Salih said Iraqi laws guarantee freedom of travel and movement for citizens, but falling into the trap of human trafficking networks is a dangerous act, a statement by the Iraqi presidency said.

Salih called for protecting migrant rights and ensuring their security as a basic human right. He said he regretted the killing of an Iraqi migrant on the Belarusian-Lithuanian border.

The officials discussed the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ efforts to ensure the voluntary return of stranded Iraqi migrants by operating flights.

They also discussed issues related to joint cooperation and strengthening diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Lithuania, a member of the European Union, has faced an influx of mostly Iraqi migrants in the past few months, Associated Press reported.

Poland also said it was seeing a rising number of Iraqi and Afghan migrants trying to enter from Belarus.

According to the AP report, authorities in Belarus alleged that Iraqi immigrants forcibly expelled from Lithuania and sent back to Belarus had injuries, including dog bites, and had to be hospitalised.

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