In August and September 2021, there were reports of migrant and refugee entries at the Lithuanian border through Belarus, in what UNHCR called a “completely unique situation.” Since early 2021, it is estimated that some 4000 Iraqi asylum seekers have made irregular border crossings from Belarus into Lithuania.
In response to the border crossing situation along the Baltic route, on August 13, a UNHCR Representative in Lithuania stated that the “emergency phase” of the mass arrivals appeared to be over and emphasized that “Lithuania must now focus on the wellbeing of the people held in immigration detention centres and on assessing their claims for international protection.”
To support national efforts, UNHCR provided 15 Relief Housing Unit (RHUs) to local implementing partners in Lithuania. The RHUs are planned as part of the country and EU’s response and reception services, for potential uses as temporary shelters, community centres, reception units and administration offices.
For more information on UNHCR’s efforts in Lithuania and the Baltic States, click here.