Hypocrisy? Treatment of Africans at borders highlights racism in Europe
War can bring out the best in humanity. We see the best as people around the world speak out against Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine. But it turns out that the best of humanity when it comes to this unfortunate circumstance is playing out only for the majority of those who are white, while the treatment of African residents brings racism in Europe to the fore.
The criticism comes as the international community rallies to provide food, shelter and aid to the more than 4 million people who the United Nations estimates will leave the country – a move that, according to the UN, will “probably” become the biggest refugee crisis of the century in Europe. .
As European countries open their arms to white refugees, we are simultaneously witnessing the worst of humanity as racism rears its ugly head.
There are too many stories about what happens to black people try to escape conflict. The majority of them are students, as Ukraine was home to tens of thousands of foreign students, mainly from Nigeria, Morocco and Egypt.
In a heartbreaking story, Jessica Orakpo, a medical student from Nigeria, said she walked more than 12 hours to reach the Polish-Ukrainian border after learning she would not be allowed to board. the bus.
“Only Ukrainians. That’s all. If you are black, you should walk,” she said, a Ukrainian official told her.
Student doctor and mother Korrine Sky, a British-Zimbabwean national, has documented on Twitter what she calls “dehumanizing treatment” at the Ukrainian border.
Sky says she waited days to return home to the UK and in an interview with The Independentdetails how she was threatened at gunpoint as she tried to flee because of the color of her skin.
But it does not stop there.
She says she was also pushed back by UK officials once she arrived.
Now stuck at the airport facing hostility from border forces. Honestly, I’m sick of the treatment of black people fleeing Ukraine which has honestly been disgusting at all times. I’m so tired of being strong, I’m at my breaking point
— Koko 🇺🇦 (@korrinesky) March 3, 2022
Call out the hypocrisy
What is happening at European borders has raised concern among the international community, including the United Nations.
“I have joined other independent experts in drawing attention specifically to the discriminatory treatment of people of African descent and others,” said Tendayi Achiume, United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism.
Achiume calls on government officials across the European Union to do the same and take urgent action to protect people from discrimination at borders.
She adds: “International law requires non-discriminatory protection of human rights, and all actors must respect this fundamental principle of non-discrimination, especially in times of great crisis”.
The NAACP also denounces the treatment of Africans at European borders and says it is working with its international partner organization to ensure the safety of Africans seeking to flee the conflict.
It is unacceptable that African students and families face racism and discrimination at the Ukrainian border. We are actively working closely with our international partners, the White House, the CBC and civil rights organizations to ensure everyone can evacuate safely.
— NAACP (@NAACP) March 2, 2022
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Like the NAACP, people and organizations are stepping in to help Africans stranded in Ukraine and other neighboring countries return home safely.
Sky is leading the charge through an organization she co-founded known as Black Women For Black Lives.
It is an organization that is part of a growing number of groups in Ukraine of African students carrying out their own rescue efforts. Since its launch, over $180,000 has been donated to help black people leave the area.