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COVID-19 hamper relocations - authorities refused relocation of a Syrian family to Lithuania.

Lithuania's cabinet of ministers blocked the resettlement of a Syrian family to the country, quoting COVID-19 risks. At the same time, it has allowing several third-country basketball teams to enter the country for training camps.

These decisions comes at the backdrop of the government closing national borders earlier this year, prohibiting foreign nationals from entering Lithuania, with limited exceptions and unless they have a valid long-term residence permit. 

The proposal to relocate a Syrian family of two adults and three underage children from Jordan to Lithuania was opposed by Justice Minister Elvinas Jankevičius, currently standing in for the interior minister. The cabinet also refused entry to an Egyptian man who wanted to be present for the birth of his child.

Lithuania has agreed to accept 1 077 persons through the EU's refugee relocation mechanism by late June 2021. So far, around 500 people have been relocated, and most have since left Lithuania for other countries in the EU.

Karolis Zibas
Diversity Development Group