Belarus to build migrant detention centers funded by EU?

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Belarus to build migrant detention centers funded by EU?

The cancellation of visas by Belarus does not mean the abolition of control, said Alexander Lukashenko meeting with state border authorities. Recently, the President made an unprecedented decision to abolish visas for citizens of 80 countries, including the USA, EU and others. The Head of State stressed that this decision does not bear any risks for Belarus or the neighboring countries.

Border control in Belarus today involves huge databases and advanced technologies. As a consequence, the number of violations is getting smaller: in 2016, the decrease was almost 18%.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
The document to abolish visas was developed during the last 1.5 years and was thoroughly reviewed by all state bodies, first of all in terms of any risk to Belarus, to our allies and neighbors.

Cancellation of visas does not mean the abolition of control. We did have border control and will continue to have it. If you receive a visa - a permission to enter the country through the National Airport Minsk only - then we will still check who you are since everything is now computerized. Just as in Russia. You present a passport and the computer says whether you are a criminal or not. We have not violated anything the terms of our domestic legislation. This is our sovereign right - to provide people of other countries with rights to enter and leave the country. And we did not break anything in terms of our agreements with other states.

Not so long ago it became known that the European Union would finance the establishment in Belarus of special centers for foreigners who arrived in Belarus illegally. The EU plans to allocate 7 million euros. These centers will only be intended for those refugees who arrived in Belarus from the EU. Others, such as Syrians, will not be held in these centers. The fact is that the Interior Ministry and the State Border Committee of Belarus simply don't have suitable premises for these purposes. Illegal migrants are placed in special detention centers. The President asked to approach the problem carefully and accurately.

Alexander Lukashenko:
We have certain agreements with the EU on migration. They are maybe going to allocate some funds for the establishment of centers for migrants. We don't need illegal migrants to stay here for long. If someone is interested in the establishment of these centers here, then they also need to provide Belarus with money for the subsequent extradition of migrants. We don't need them to stay here.

Stanislav Zas, State Secretary of Security Council of the Republic of Belarus:
On the eastern border of Belarus, the Russian side unilaterally imposed restricted passport control for foreign citizens who cross border crossings between Russia and Belarus. This does not affect the transit of Belarusian goods and passengers. It is somewhat inconvenient to foreign citizens who are forced to seek longer paths, detours. But it is about the Russian Federation, it is not Belarus' measures. If they deem it necessary and if they believe that it increases the security of their country, it is their right to do so.

The total length of the Belarus border is over 3,500 kilometers. It has 82 checkpoints all in all.