People from several African countries are trying to safely escape Ukraine as Russia continues its attack on the country. Some have reported racial discrimination as they evacuate to safety. Representatives from Kenya, Ghana and Gabon condemn reports of discrimination and even abuse, despite reports of some evacuees being treated well. Everything inside…
As hundreds of thousands of citizens fleeing Ukraine as the Russian military continue deadly attacks, Africans in the country - many there for their studies - are reporting racial discrimination and abuse at the Ukrainian border.
Another video showing Africans being forcibly removed from the train they were boarding to leave Ukraine pic.twitter.com/vhKaeXqTwV
— özlem (@alykm_zlmbrv) February 28, 2022
Last week, Russia began invading Ukraine and now there have been airstrikes and explosions against the capital, Kyiv. As for why, that's a loaded Q&A. But, essentially, Russia's leader Putin has been attempting for decades to justify imperialism and the conquering of other nations. Now, he has decided to take action, despite most of the world urging him not to.
The Consulate of the Republic of Slovenia in Kharkiv was destroyed by a Russian rocket attack today. The Honorary Consul is safe. This horrific act will not remain without consequences. pic.twitter.com/Bt9rjPo2ZE
— Slovenia in Ukraine (@SLOinUKR) March 1, 2022
The aftermath of a Russian attack on a residential district in Borodyanka, Kyiv region. Notice the children’s play set. pic.twitter.com/cFz85dDJ9m
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) March 1, 2022
Africans in the Eastern European country claim they are being denied to leave Ukraine and are even being forcibly removed from trains. Peep the clip above.
"It seems like there's a hierarchy of Ukrainians first, Indians second, Africans last."
As people flee Ukraine, African nationals are taking to social media to share personal accounts of racial discrimination while trying to evacuate to safety pic.twitter.com/R2hIUqmY2O
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) March 1, 2022
Percy Ohene-Yeboah, an engineering major from Ghana, told Reuters that he’s stuck in Ukraine, speaking to the publication from the basement of a church. He said when he looked out the window of his high-rise apartment, the streets were clogged with traffic.
"In a situation like this, you're on your own. You've got to find the best way to find refuge for yourself," he said, adding that he has received no help from his government at home. "It's now that the reality is really hitting me. I think for me, it's a bit too late for evacuation and all those things."
A student I just spoke with says it was Ukrainian soldiers, not Polish border guards telling him this.
— Stephanie Hegarty (@stephhegarty) February 26, 2022
A Nigerian medical student at Poland/Ukraine border (Medyka-Shehyni) tells a reporter that border guards are stopping black people and sending them to the back of the queue, allowing “Ukranians” to go through first.
The Ghanaian engineering student went to a window on the other side and discovered why: Russian planes were flying low above the city, trying to evade missiles that rifled through the sky 2/5 pic.twitter.com/H1PTKWnTaN
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 28, 2022
African refugees said they were pushed to the end of long lines and some were beaten by the Russian military. It’s sickening because even in the middle of a war, racism is still prevalent and thriving.
More about the reported racism happening at the borders below:
I can confirm this. 6+ hours several buses crossing every hour and not one foreigner allowed across. We finally made it across and we’re told accommodation at the hotel is only for Ukrainians. No sleep or food in 3 days, walked 20+ km. Why does nationality determine who rests. https://t.co/89aWEbniqy
— Asya (@_alfaad_) February 27, 2022
Nigerian and other African students fleeing Ukraine say border guards refused entry into Poland, which has accepted 280,000+ Ukrainians.
One says staff said they were "not tending to Africans."
Another who crossed into Poland said: "Nobody tells us where we can find shelter." pic.twitter.com/fhOn1aZrAU
— AJ+ (@ajplus) February 28, 2022
While African students have shared their stories and videos on social media of their unfair treatment, representatives from the three African nations on the UN Security Council - Kenya, Ghana, and Gabon - all condemned reports of discrimination against African citizens at the Ukrainian border.
"In the unfolding emergency, there have been disturbing reports about the racist treatment of Africans and people of African descent seeking to flee Ukraine to safety. The media is covering these appalling incidents and several states have confirmed that their citizens are suffering such treatment. We strongly condemn this racism and believe that it is damaging to the spirit of solidarity that is so urgently needed today.
”The mistreatment of African peoples on Europe's borders needs to cease immediately, whether to the Africans fleeing Ukraine or to those crossing the Mediterranean," Kenyan Ambassador to the UN Martin Kimani said Monday.
The African Union has said it is "disturbed" by the reports of segregation against Africans in Ukraine, which it described as "shockingly racist.”
“Reports that Africans are singled out for unacceptable dissimilar treatment would be shockingly racist and in breach of International law,” the statement reads. “In this regard, the Chairpersons urge all countries to respect international law and show empathy and support to all people fleeing the war notwithstanding their racial identity.”
Some Africans have reported that they have been treated well in Romania. The woman in the video below said they all safe and that Romania has been “so so good” to them. Peep the clip below:
Romania has been welcoming to Africans who fled Ukraine. Several Africans have reported that they have been treated well in Romania. pic.twitter.com/V92cOxzmpm
— Africa Facts Zone (@AfricaFactsZone) March 1, 2022
— Mukete Samuel (@mukete_samuel1) March 1, 2022
It's possible that people are simply having different experiences at different times and in different places. Racism occuring, though, is definitely not out of the realm of possibilty.
Rapper Young Thug offered to help get Africans out of Ukraine safely:
Young thug pic.twitter.com/VzIlHhbYU3
— Piñata Farms (@pinatafarms) February 28, 2022
It’s so unfortunate that Russia has launched a war against Ukraine and its even worse how they are treating Africans who are simply trying to escape.
Want to help? Find ways to lend a helping hand here. https://www.rescue.org/topic/refugees-america