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Ever since Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded neighboring Ukraine in February, over 4 million refugees have fled in droves from the deadly bombardment of their country. Since the onset of the rising conflict, nonwhite refugees have struggled to exit Ukraine with the level of deference and relative ease of white Ukrainians.
For those fortunate enough to make it out of the war-torn country in nearby Austria, Poland and Estonia, many African students are now sitting in overcrowded and unsanitary holding centers while many White refugees have already been processed, relocated, and welcomed graciously to other European countries.
War in Ukraine reveals underlying European discrimination.
Some exiting African students were reportedly told by Ukrainian officials to go back and fight, even though they had no training or allegiance to the country.
Students from Cameroon and Nigeria were identified in one camp by Democracy Now. Both of the African nations’ embassies state they are unaware of why their citizens are being detained and are actively working to extract them.
It’s almost like racism exists everywhere.
Many of Ukraine’s African students are considered “third-party nationals,” and even though earlier this month a Temporary Protection Directive was evoked by the European Union to accept refugees across the European nations, those students are not being processed or successfully deported as expected. Akin to prison, several of the detained students claimed they felt kidnapped before arriving to their eventual detainment center.
Maud Jullien of LightHouse Reports states, “People are being treated differently based on where they’re from, even if they’re fleeing the exact same conflict – just makes these double standards even more obvious.”
As President Biden spoke in Poland over the weekend about the vital defense of Ukraine and the world against Putin’s tyranny whilst reiterating a commitment to democracy, African students remain detained under the same European leadership.