EU imposes additional sanctions on Belarus for trafficking in human beings

Belarus will receive additional sanctions imposed by the European Union. Foreign Ministers argue that in addition to the Belarusian government, companies and individuals are also involved in the migrant drama along the border with EU Member States Poland and Lithuania. According to the ministers, these companies and persons are guilty of smuggling people.

The EU accuses Belarus of implementing a preconceived plan to lure thousands of migrants to Belarus and then send them west with false promises of easy access to the EU. Belarus contradicts that: according to President Lukashenko, the EU is guilty of violating human rights.

Which companies and people will be subject to criminal measures will become clear in the coming days. Airlines that bring migrants to Belarus can also count on measures. โ€œThis is the only real instrument we have,โ€ said the Dutch outgoing minister Knapen of Foreign Affairs after the council has finished.

Economic penalties have been in place against Belarus since the turn of the century and these have been tightened after last years fraudulently expired elections. For example, Belarusian aircraft are not welcome at airports in the EU and trade and export restrictions apply to all kinds of products, including weapons and espionage technology. In addition, Belarusian authorities are being banned from European capital markets and there are sanctions against politicians, senior officials and businessmen who support the regime.

Led to nothing

EU foreign coordinator Borrell spoke to the Belarusian Foreign Minister this week about the migrant crisis, but that seems to have worked out little. โ€œThe conversation has led to nothing and that is why these sanctions are urgently needed,โ€ says Knapen.

Images of the border, made by the Polish police and the Ministry of Defence, can be seen in this video:

The European Commission is also still in talks with the countries from which most migrants travel to Belarus. It is mostly about people from Syria and Iraq, but they are brought to Minsk from Lebanon and Dubai.

Contact with those countries last week. Today, Commissioner Schinas is visiting Iraq and this week he is also visiting Egypt. Airlines have also been asked to stop flights to Belarus.

Migrants can now no longer fly to Minsk with Iraqi, Turkish and Lebanese carriers. The Syrian Cham Wings no longer flies to Belarus.

Where the migrants are located and under what circumstances can be seen in this video: