PRESS STATEMENT: Mistreatment of Africans at border points fleeing from the Russia-Ukraine War
We are disturbed and concerned to note of the reports of mistreatment of Africans and people of African descent fleeing from war at the borders of Ukraine, Poland and Hungary and other exit points at Ukraine border. We have heard and seen disturbing and horrific video footages, media reports and within our diaspora networks. Zambians and other African nationals have been discriminated by border guards and officials, many at times prevented from boarding buses and trains transiting to places for Airlifting. As a result, these actions have at times resulted in delays in reaching evacuation points and migrants being affected by extreme cold weather. Majority of these people are students who were studying in Ukraine more vulnerable to war due to lack of logistical capacity to handle their travel. We ask this great question, why do African migrants discriminated and not protected by authorities?
It must be realized that mistreatment and discrimination of migrants who are fleeing from war is a violation of human rights. It is against migrants’ international protocols and other United Nations international humanfviovci rights instruments that address discrimination of people who are fleeing from war or any other atrocities. The Office of the United Nations Human Rights message is very clear; UN Member states must be aware and recognize their role that they are principles and guidelines that guide migration and human rights of migrants under vulnerable situations specifically under war situations.
These focus on protection, safe travel and non-discrimination regardless of their sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, language, religion or belief, political, disability, nationality, migration or residence status, age.
Country men and women, you may recall at the advent of COVID 19 in China, a number of African students were abused and discriminated at shopping malls, bus stations and other public places.
We recognize and salute the work of our new government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the handling of the evacuation process with commitment and vigor. Despite challenges being faced in the war situation, such as communication and coordination the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its staff have been steady fast in dealing with this difficult process. We also thank the Zambian community in the diaspora for their hand in helping the government in this important task.
The Diaspora Foundation and other likeminded CSOs across Africa recognize the UN International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024. The decade aims at celebrating the important contributions of people of African descent worldwide, advance social justice and inclusion policies, eradicate racism and intolerance, promote human rights, and assist in creating better, more prosperous communities, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals spearheaded by the United Nations.
We call upon the African Union to take interest in the matter by way of statements that will encourage and censor countries concerned to ensure ultimate protection of the rights of free movement of African migrants fleeing from war in Ukraine. We urge the African governments to advance the implementation of the activities of International Decade for People of African Descent to ensure that Africans wherever they are can have assurance of protection from abuse or any form of discrimination. Africa Union must unite for the protection of their nationals through observation of the international migration and diaspora protocols.
BY: Dean Mulozi – Executive Director