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Joint Statement from Chairman Menendez, EU Foreign Relations Committee Chairs on Politically-Motivated People Trafficking

JERSEY CITY, N.J. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today joined his counterparts in the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, and United Kingdom in issuing the following statement to condemn the use of trafficked migrants by the Lukashenka regime to undermine neighboring states:

“We, the chairs of our respective national parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committees, condemn unequivocally the use of trafficked migrants by the illegal Lukashenka regime to undermine neighbouring states. Using the most vulnerable as leverage in a political dispute is shameful and draws comparison with the act of air piracy we witnessed in May.

“The attempt to push migrants over the border of Lithuania is a criminal and inhuman act aimed at undermining the solidarity and support of the Lithuanian people towards those in Belarus who crave liberty and reject the stolen elections of last year. This is a new and pernicious assault on a European Union member state and NATO ally. It should be met with solidarity and a national, European and transatlantic response.

“We call for a ban on flights to Belarus suspected of being used for state-organised people trafficking.

“We call for sanctions on those involved in this state-organised people trafficking across international borders and the Lukashenka regime that controls it.

“We call for a joint commitment to the end the people trafficking across the EU borders, including support to EU Frontex, Border Management Visa Instrument, European Asylum Support Office and other national and international agencies that can support Lithuania or other states targeted by this unconventional attack by the Lukashenka regime.   

“We call for joint EU and NATO statements directed to the governments of Iraq, Turkey, and any other state used by the Lukashenka regime in the abuse and instrumentalization of migrants, to end the practice and defend the dignity of those whose rights are being violated.”

The statement was issued by:

Senator Bob Menendez

Chairman, United States


Sen Pavel Fischer

Chair, Czech Republic


Ond?ej Veselý MP

Chair, Czech Republic


Marko Mihkelson

Chair, Estonia


Sen Christian Cambon

Chair, France


Jean-Louis Bourlanges MP 

Chair, France


Norbert Röttgen MdB

Chair, Germany


Charlie Flanagan TD

Chair, Ireland


Rihards Kols

Chair, Latvia


Žygiamantas Pavilionis 

Chair, Lithuania


Sen Bodgan Klich

Chair, Poland


Marek Kuchcinski MP

Chair, Poland


Oleksandr Merezhko

Chair, Ukraine


Tom Tugendhat MP 

Chair, United Kingdom