The EU is financing the construction of refugee camps in Belarus, according to an internal paper of the EU Commission seen by the German Tageszeitung (TAZ) newspaper.
TAZ writes that the Commission will transfer to Minsk in the next years some 7 million euros. The „Migrants Accomodation Center“, as the camps will be called, will be partly open, partly of a “closed type”, as the project description says, which means that the migrants will be are detained there before Belarus expels them or lets them leave voluntarily.
The money will come from the European Neighbourhood Program and is expected to flow in from 2017 to 2020. The project will be handled by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
In what TAZ calls a “pact with the dictator Lukashenka”, each EU detention centre in Belarus will have between 30 to 50 cells, or rooms, and it is said that they are expected to meet “the best EU and international standards,” according to the paper. This means that there are separate sections for women, girls or families, as well as psychological and medical care, which are currently not available in Belarus. The centres are mainly destined to hold refugees and migrants that were rejected from the EU borders, or deported from the EU to the country.
The EU plan mentions, according to TAZ, three groups of migrants to be accommodated in the camps: refugees from Ukraine, Syria and those who are fleeing the “economic crisis in Russia and are seeking work in the EU”. In fact, most of all, Chechen refugees are likely to land there. The paper does not show the proportion of “closed” places. It also not specify which refugees are interned and which are allowed to move around freely.
In February 2016 the EU had decided to end its sanctions against Belarus. The opposition in the country had strongly criticised the decision.