Ukraine : Racism under the bombs

Racism is abject in ordinary times. It is even more so in times of war, as is the case today at the borders of Ukraine, where students of African origin are turned away. Explanations.

A petition signed for the moment by more than 35.000 people denounces this ignominy. African refugees, many of them students, are prevented from leaving for neighboring countries to escape the Russian bombs.
They are several thousands from Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia or South Africa have been abandoned to their sad fate, are confronted with the hostility of the inhabitants and can not cross the border because, they say, priority is given to Ukrainians.

They are speaking out on Twitter

“It is obvious that we Africans are considered inferior creatures,” said Nze, a student who was forced to travel for several hours to the Polish border. “The majority of Africans are still on the road to Lviv,” he tweeted alongside a photo of the crowd.
Another Nigerian medical student at the Medyka-Shehyni border crossing (between Poland and Ukraine) said she had “waited seven hours to cross and the border guards were stopping and sending black people to the back of the line, under the pretext that they had to let Ukrainians through first.”
The page reports that there are about 4,000 Nigerians currently studying in Ukraine, making them the second largest group of international students in the country, after Moroccans, who make up 8,000 students.
Nigerian students and their families have expressed concerns on social media about alleged racial discrimination by guards at crossing and security checkpoints, as well as the lack of government assistance.

Discriminatory evacuations

The petitioners call on the Ukrainian border authorities to stop these discriminatory evacuation tactics and allow everyone to cross the border safely by any means available.
They also call on the Nigerian government to immediately repatriate all Nigerians stranded in Ukraine, as the Indian government has done. Nigerian student unions in Ukraine said they have made numerous calls to the Nigerian embassy in Kiev without getting any response. This is unacceptable!

Signatories’ demands:

  • We call on the Ukrainian border authorities to end discrimination against Africans and other people of color and to ensure safe passage of Africans and other marginalized people to neighboring countries.
  • The African Union should issue a statement demanding the safety of Africans and arrange air transportation for Africans in Ukraine or those who have fled to Poland and other countries. This is the time for them to stand up for Africa.
  • Finally, the Nigerian government must urgently evacuate Nigerian students stranded in Ukraine and those who have fled to neighboring countries.

The petition calls on the authorities in Poland, Romania and neighboring Eastern European countries to grant temporary asylum to African students fleeing Ukraine until they are evacuated to their respective countries.
We call on the Ukrainian border authorities to show humanity and treat everyone with dignity.

The petition