By Our Reporter
Accounts by African, Asian and Indian students fleeing Ukraine especially to Poland show that the Ukrainian authorities segregated against them.
Accounts seen by this website date back to 27th February, 2022 when many students became part of the civilian population fleeing Ukraine.
Here are the unedited Accounts
Feb 27: Both African & South Asian refugees are at the back of the new processing line that has now been set up by Ukraine to reach Poland. Both communities have been sharing experiences dealing with racism and double standards in getting to safety.
Baaz has spoken to Sikhs waiting to cross the Poland-Ukraine border but have noticed preference being given to white refugees. Some have been waiting for 3 days now and believe it may be Ukraine holding them back due to India’s stance on the #UkraineRussiaConflict.
After being told to “go back” for 3 days now, it appears Ukrainian officials have relented & placed South Asian refugees, incl Sikhs, in a processing line to cross into Poland. They are last in line, but this is an improvement they say, hoping to cross in a few hours.
A Nigerian medical student at Poland/Ukraine border (Medyka-Shehyni) told me she has been waiting 7hrs to cross, she says border guards are stopping black people and sending them to the back of the queue, saying they have to let ‘Ukrainians’ through first.
“I video chatted with a Nigerian student who is fearing for her life in Ukraine. She says that she and other Africans have been pushed off trains by white people, aren’t allowed into buildings, and are all pretty scattered and lost.
TV reports from the Polish border confirm the same. Fleeing students were kicked upon and manhandled by Ukranian authorities. Not the way to treat foreigners escaping the same war.
Feb 28: UPDATE | After some uncertainty over whether South Asian, incl Sikh, male refugees would be allowed to pass Ukranian checkpoints, many have now crossed through and are now waiting for clearance from Polish authorities to safety. Most of these refugees are international students.
Many South Asian and Sikh refugees were finally able to cross into Poland over the night. However, they share with Baaz that African refugees are being physically assaulted and harassed more than anyone else.
8h ago: We have been given some accommodation by a hotel helping refugees, in Romania. This is where we will be staying tonight. After the 4 day ordeal we’ve been through so happy to have somewhere to lay my head.
Students & families from Africa are stranded at the Ukrainian border with little to no consular support & are often denied places on trains. They need help getting out by car or bus. Every pound, euro, and dollar counts.
Meanwhile, the African Union has come out to condemn the racist treatment of African students trying to flee Ukraine – BBC reports.
The African Union has said it is disturbed by reports of Africans in Ukraine being refused the right to cross the border to safety.
The body urged all countries to respect international law and offer assistance to everyone fleeing from the war irrespective of their race.
“Reports that Africans are singled out for unacceptable dissimilar treatment would be shockingly racist and in breach international law,” AU said in a statement issued late Monday.
The union hailed member countries and their embassies in countries neighbouring Ukraine who are supporting those fleeing from the war.
Africans living in Ukraine had complained of racism at the Ukraine-Poland border.