What the Migrants had to Endure in Lithuania: Fences and Insults – Only the Tip of the Iceberg

Lithuania did not ensure equal opportunities for asylum seekers and migrants who came to Lithuania through Belarus and violated their rights, the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson of the Republic of Lithuania stated in its report. This, according to the Office, could have been avoided by using alternative measures to detention, reports delfi.lt.

The report notes that asylum seekers and migrants in Lithuania experienced uncertainty and fear about the future, encountered discrimination, dehumanization, humiliating behavior, and violence.

Lithuanian politicians and officials are also criticized for their communication and decisions.

Amongst other things, the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson notes that migrants accommodated in the LGBTI+ sector in Pabradė suffered or were exploited because they are LGBTI+; also a man who was locked up in a “brothel” in Belarus and sold.

The Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson stated that when accommodating asylum seekers and migrants, sensitive features of their identity were not taken into account, including their sexual orientation and gender identity, as a result of which non-heterosexual persons faced unwanted behavior – harassment, violence, exploitation.

It is said that non-heterosexual men also received unpleasant behaviour from the officers working in the detention centres, and they felt that the officers behaved in this way because of their homophobic attitudes.

When non-heterosexual men expressed a desire to be moved, for example, to another floor of the accommodation, they were required to provide evidence – they had to tell about their past relationships, show photos.

“The requirement to ‘prove’ sexual orientation and/or gender identity is humiliating, and the request to disclose personal information about past relationships with persons of the same sex is excessive, especially considering that individuals come from countries where non-heterosexuality is legal and/or socially penalized, may feel extremely uncomfortable sharing this type of personal information, may not have had non-heterosexual relationships or have photos and/or documents proving them,” the Office of the Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson noted in the report.