Report on the situation of Belarusian Conscientious Objectors and draft evaders in Lithuania

International Centre for civil initiatives “Our House” (Nash Dom), Belarus & Lithuania

With support of:

International Fellowship of Reconciliation – Austria

European Bureau for Conscientious Objection

Federation for Social Defence, Germany

Connection e.V.

War Resisters’ International

The International Peace Bureau (IPB)

Vilnius, 17 August 2023


The mass pushbacks of non-European migrants at the Belarusian border since 2021 exemplify a broader erosion of asylum rights, refoulement prohibition, and rule of law principles in Lithuania post-2022. Following the 2020 crackdown, Belarusians entered Lithuania on humanitarian visas for safety. After Russia’s Ukraine invasion, Lithuania’s treatment of Belarusian exiles changed. They shifted from perceived regime opponents to security threats.

In early 2023, around 48,804 Belarusians sought refuge in Lithuania due to 2020 protests (12) and war, with about 55,000 residing there by July 2023 (34). Over 1,165 Belarusians were labeled “national security threats” in six months, often based on past army service or attendance at a cadet academy, lacking specific accusations. (56)

Negative decisions on residency applications surged for Belarusians, especially compared to other nationals like Russians, with approximately 300 receiving refusals (78). Belarusians, once supported, are now treated harshly. Ukrainian Film director of the film Mariupol-2, Anna Bilobrova (her fiancé Mantas Kvedaravičius was killed in Ukraine) highlight arbitrary expulsions and security labeling towards Belarussians in Lithuania. “Three years ago, Lithuania supported those who were fighting against the Belarusian regime, but now it treats these people as terrorists,” Bilobrova states (8). The “national security” pretext also targets Belarusian conscientious objectors to military service, halting asylum claims. Detention, limited legal aid, and rights abuses prevail. Human rights violations affect Belarusian objectors and human rights defedenders, attacked by both Belarusian/Russian and Lithuanian authorities.

Because they feel unsafe, Belarusians seek refuge but no longer find it in Lithuania.

Read the full report here: