Thousands of migrants and refugees are stranded in freezing winter conditions on the border between Belarus and the European Union.

It is a developing humanitarian emergency that neighbouring countries say has been deliberately engineered by Belarus’s authoritarian leader, Alexander Lukashenko, in response to EU sanctions.

But to many of his battle-weary political opponents, whether at home or in exile, the president’s latest departure from international norms is just another example of his cavalier attitude to human rights.

As the crisis was brewing in October 2021, People & Power went to find out why.

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