On Tuesday 10 August, the Cabinet of Ministers issued an order declaring the state of emergency in certain administrative areas, in the light of the rapid increase in the number of illegal crossings of the border between Latvia and Belarus.
The emergency situation shall be effective from 11 August 2021 to 10 November 2021 in the municipalities of Ludza, Krāslava, Augšdaugava and Daugavpils.
The Cabinet of Ministers’ order establishes an obligation for the National Armed Forces and the State Police to provide assistance to the State Border Guard in ensuring the surveillance of the border between Latvia and Belarus in order to prevent illegal border crossings.
The Cabinet of Ministers’ order also establishes the right for the State Border Guard, the National Armed Forces and the State Police to use the procedures and means at their disposal to deter persons from illegal crossing of the border between Latvia and Belarus.
In addition, the government order stipulates that in cases where the State Border Guard, the National Armed Forces and the State Police find an illegal crossing of the Latvia-Belarus border, they shall order the persons to return to the country from which they have crossed the border and take the necessary measures to ensure that the persons comply with the order.
In cases where the State Border Guard finds that a person has illegally crossed the border between Latvia and Belarus, it has the right to use physical force and special means in order to return the person immediately to the state from which he or she has illegally crossed the State border.
The order also establishes that the structural units of the State Border Guard and other authorities located in the territory where the state of emergency has been declared shall not accept the applications of persons regarding the granting of a refugee or alternative status.
The National Armed Forces, in cooperation with the State Border Guard and the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs, have an obligation to provide a place and infrastructure where to accommodate those persons who have crossed the border between Latvia and Belarus.
The State Border Guard and the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs are allowed to apply the exemption laid down in Section 3, Paragraph eight of the Public Procurement Law in order to provide the asylum seekers who have arrived from the Republic of Belarus with accommodation, food and essential goods.
The measures for the enforcement of the order, including overtime work and travel expenses of the staff of institutions involved, will be financed from the State budget funds allocated to institutions for the relevant purpose, as well as from the State Budget Programme “Emergency Funds”.
The Cabinet of Ministers may decide to request international assistance, where appropriate, through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, NATO, as well as other international cooperation organisations and foreign platforms.