Creating new perspectives since 2009

Iraq announces evacuation of 3,817 citizens stranded in Belarus

December 18, 2021 at 4:54 pm

Migrants continue to wait at the Belarusian-Polish border in Grodno, Belarus on 28 November 2021 [Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency]

The Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday announced the evacuation of 3,817 of its illegal immigrants stranded at the Belarus border via ten emergency flights.

“Within one month, we managed to conduct ten exceptional flights to return those wishing to return voluntarily,” the ministry’s Spokesperson Ahmed Al-Sahaf disclosed in a statement, of which Anadolu Agency received a copy.

“The evacuation flight to return those wishing to return voluntarily carried 258 citizens for this day, while we have succeeded so far in returning 3,817 Iraqis. Five hundred eighteen passing passports have been granted so far, we are coordinating for humanitarian field support within Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia and Poland,”  the spokesperson confirmed.

“Depending on the efforts of the Iraqi embassies in Moscow and Warsaw, our consular delegations continue to work in the field by registering the names of those wishing to return and proving the patronage of others,” Al-Sahaf explained.

He added: “Through coordination with the authorities in Belarus, we managed to drop fines relating to violating residency conditions for all citizens who were voluntarily returned, amounting to more than $770,000.”

This evacuation followed an aggravated humanitarian crisis for thousands of irregular migrants at the Belarus and European Union (EU) borders.

In early November, many asylum seekers tried to cross the border to enter Poland from Belarus, where there are currently hundreds stranded, according to the Polish Press Agency.

The EU accuses Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of coordinating the arrival of this wave of migrants and refugees to the eastern side of Europe, in response to the European sanctions imposed on his country after the “brutal repression” practised by his regime against the opposition.

The situation at the Poland/Belarus border - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

The situation at the Poland/Belarus border – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

UN: 2021 migrant death toll tops 4,400, surpassing preceding year