Belarusian authoritarian leader Alyaksandr Lukashenka has ordered the country’s embassies to stop issuing passports to Belarusians living abroad.
Until now Belarusian expats could get new passports at the country's diplomatic missions, but according to a decree published on September 4, they can only get a new passport or renew an old one in Belarus.
This means that Belarusians, and Belarusian journalists in particular, can no longer update their main document at their country's embassy. This means that politically active citizens of Belarus and independent journalists who left to escape the Lukashenka regime will have their main document, a passport, expire from now on.
BAJ emphasizes that this is a serious problem, since most EU countries issue residence permits to foreigners with a validity period until the expiration date of the passport.
BAJ considers it important to announce now the creation of mechanisms to protect citizens of Belarus in this situation in such countries as Germany, the Czech Republic and others.