African union addresses reports of discrimination against Africans trying to flee Ukraine

Civilians are dying amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict, but multiple reports note that exactly how many remains a mystery

The African Union has reacted to the disturbing reports that African citizens in Ukraine are being discriminated against at the border amid the raging conflict in the country. 

“Reports that Africans are singled out for unacceptable dissimilar treatment would be shockingly racist and in breach international law,” AU Chair, Senegal’s President Macky Sall, and Moussa Faki Mahamat head of AU Commission said in a joint statement.

Refugees from many different countries – from Africa, Middle East and India – mostly students of Ukrainian universities are seen at the Medyka pedestrian border crossing fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, in eastern Poland on February 27, 2022. (Photo by Wojtek RADWANSKI / AFP) (Photo by WOJTEK RADWANSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

The statement noted that all people have the right to cross international borders during conflict. 

TheGrio previously reported that African migrants have been blocked from leaving Ukraine after Russian military forces began invading the country last week.

Tens of thousands of African students studying medicine, engineering and other disciplines in the eastern European nation — where higher education is more affordable than it is in western Europe — have been stranded in major cities under attack by Russian tanks, planes and missiles, according to Reuters and Business Insider.

As reported by CNN, during a UNSC meeting at the UN HQ in New York City on Monday, representatives from Kenya, Ghana, and Gabon condemned the 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.

Kimani also stated the Security Council needs “to be able to understand that there are actors who want to magnify this story for cynical reasons that have nothing to do with the wellbeing and safety of Africans,” CNN reported.

Several viral videos show African migrants being denied access to trains and pushed away at border posts by Ukrainian security forces. In video testimonials shared online, Black migrants say they’ve also been blocked from boarding buses leaving Ukrainian war zones.

“We ask for the respect of the dignity and for equitable treatment of all people in dire circumstances. It is an opportunity for my country to recall the African Union appeal for respect of international law that requires equal treatment for all people who cross international borders in conflict areas,” UN Ambassador Michel Xavier Biang from Gabon said Monday. 

Carolyn Oppong-Ntiri, Ghanaian Deputy Ambassador to the UN, has called on the Ukrainian government to provide the African population still trapped in the country with “medical care in line with the principles of humanity, neutrality, and impartiality.” 

More than 500,000 refugees have now fled from Ukraine into neighbouring countries.

UNHCR is working with partners and local authorities to provide humanitarian aid and support those in need. pic.twitter.com/sgo0uKYgsO

— UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency (@Refugees) February 28, 2022

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports more than 500,000 people in Ukraine have been displaced amid the conflict. Commercial flights in and out of Ukraine have also ceased, theGrio reported.

Civilians are dying amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict, but multiple reports note that exactly how many remains a mystery.

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The post African union addresses reports of discrimination against Africans trying to flee Ukraine appeared first on TheGrio.

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