Belarus bans citizens from renewing passports abroad, spreading fear among those who fled repression | Inquirer News

Belarus bans citizens from renewing passports abroad, spreading fear among those who fled repression

/ 12:11 PM September 06, 2023

Belarus bans citizens from renewing passports abroad

A woman holds a Belarusian passport as she waits her turn to cast a vote in the Belarusian presidential election, outside the Belarusian Embassy in Moscow, Russia, Sunday, Aug. 9, 2020. AP FILE PHOTO

TALLINN, Estonia — Belarus’ authoritarian president on Tuesday banned citizens from renewing their passports while staying abroad, which could force those who fled the country amid growing repression to return to maintain their travel documents.

An estimated 200-300,000 Belarusians have left the country in the last three years since massive protests against an election that returned President Alexander Lukashenko to office led to a harsh crackdown on the political opposition.


The election results were widely regarded as manipulated.


Lukashenko’s decree stated that a Belarusian passport can only be renewed where the holder was a registered resident before leaving the country.

Opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who fled to Lithuania after challenging Lukashenko in the 2020 election, warned Belarusians, saying, “even if your passport expires, you should not return to your home country if you risk persecution.”

Tsikhanouskaya told The Associated Press that Poland and Lithuania have issued so-called “foreigner passports” to Belarusians that allow them to stay in those countries.

The Belarusian human rights group Viasna says more than 1,500 people are currently behind bars as political prisoners.

Journalists and activists in Belarus have faced large-scale repression since the August 2020 vote that handed a sixth term to Lukashenko.


Belarus detains former presidential candidate

Belarus opposition figure ‘tore passport to pieces’ to avoid expulsion

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

TAGS: Belarus, Passports

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.