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Refugees from other wars Want to know why white Ukrainians get VIP treatment

ROME — The queue outside the Baobob refugee soup kitchen in central Rome is packed with desperate migrants and refugees every weekday. In recent months, most have come from Afghanistan and war-torn African countries such as Somalia, Sudan and the Tigray region of Ethiopia. However, not a single Ukrainian war refugee stood in the cold. They were welcomed into warm homes and care facilities. “They’re white, so they get special treatment,” a man from Afghanistan who worked as an interpreter for Italian peacekeepers in Afghanistan before the Taliban regained control of the country told The Telegraph. Daily Beast as he crouched next to the tent near where he slept. “But the worst thing is that the people who once gave us spare clothes and food are now giving them to the Ukrainians.”

The man did not want his name published for fear it would negatively affect his asylum claim, which he made more than a year ago. Britain and thousands of other war refugees in Italy are stuck in a bureaucracy, it could take two or three years before they know if they can stay legally even if they are refugees. The country has endured a longer war than the four-week invasion of Ukraine that the refugees did. do not have to go through the same process — even though they are not part of the European Union. Ukrainian refugees are automatically granted a 90-day stay — no questions asked. If they want to extend their stay, they can apply for an extension of 90 days.

While no one agrees that Ukrainians need support and assistance as their country is besieged in this unfair war, there are growing opinions about double standards when it comes to skin color. of refugees and their treatment. Andrea Costa, who runs the Baobab center in Rome, told The Daily Beast that while he wholeheartedly agrees that Ukrainian refugees need help, so do African and Middle Eastern refugees. And he finds it hypocritical to call Ukrainian helpers “saviors” while African refugee rescuers are often prosecuted for people smuggling, a reference to some of the group’s captains. The NGO is currently facing charges of rescuing migrants and refugees in Italy. He said: “It is unacceptable to call those who accept women and children on the border between Ukraine and Poland as heroes, but to call those who help people shipwrecked in the Mediterranean Sea. Hai is a criminal,” he said. “Wars are all the same. Refugees are all the same.”

The distinction between the “types” of refugees became apparent in the days after Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. According to Human Rights Watch, thousands of Africans working and studying in Ukraine were stopped at the Polish border while white Ukrainians were quickly brought over. “It’s a difficult situation for everyone trying to get out of the war and everyone getting out of the war,” said Judith Sunderland, regional director for Europe and Central Asia at Human Rights Watch. war, no matter where they come from, should be allowed to leave. “Ukrainian authorities should not discriminate on the basis of nationality or race, and neighboring countries should allow everyone to participate with a minimum of bureaucracy.”

But that is not happening on the Ukrainian border, and tensions are rising in countries like Italy and Greece among the thousands of African refugees who wish they could receive even a little bit of goodwill. lice are being poured out on the Ukrainians. At the Church of Santa Sofia Ukraine in Rome, organizers had to move people who were providing supplies including clothing and medicine elsewhere due to rampant generosity. A church official told The Daily Beast: “We told them to give the excess money to other refugee groups in the city. “We are flooded with donations.” Meanwhile, the Baobob center regularly publishes lists of their needs: canned food, baby clothes and shoes, diapers, and medicine.

The head of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday that he hopes the Ukraine refugee crisis will help change the way war refugees are viewed in general, and highlight areas where other places where people are indiscriminately killed by oppressive regimes, including in their native Ethiopia. “Yes, I am from Tigray. And this crisis affects me personally, my family and my friends a lot,” he said. “But as the director-general of WHO, it is my duty to protect and promote health wherever it is threatened. And there is no place on earth where the health of millions is more at stake than in Tigray. Just as we continue to call on Russia to make peace in Ukraine, so we continue to call on Ethiopia and Eritrea to end the blockade and blockade and allow safe access to humanitarian supplies and workers. to save lives. ”

During the first invasion of Ukraine, Human Rights Watch interviewed people from Morocco, India, Nigeria, Uganda and Tunisia in Lviv, Ukraine and again at the border with Poland. “Most people interviewed in groups all confirmed to have had the same or similar experiences,” the group said in early March.

According to Human Rights Watch, a woman in Sierra Leone was told that “all black people must get off the bus” to be dragged from the queue of people waiting to go to Poland. Human Rights groups in Ukraine have released a joint statement calling on European nations not to hold onto old prejudices against African and Middle Eastern refugees. “We call on all stakeholders, both as regulators and in practice, to combat any case of personal or institutional discrimination, xenophobia or racism. ethnic groups in this crisis, providing support to representatives of historically marginalized or marginalized groups currently in Ukraine,” the group said.

Back in Italy with food supplies, few believe that the situation in Ukraine will make any difference to how war refugees from elsewhere are received. “We would love to see such emotional engagement and activism in other armed conflicts and equally deserving refugees,” the Baobab group said in a Facebook post. Baobab said in a Facebook post. “For the Afghans we have renounced the violence of the Taliban regime, after twenty years of occupation by Italy.

Or, for example, for the thousands of women, girls and children who were raped during the invisible war in Ethiopia, the former Italian colony. People talk about genocide of civilians in Tigrian and there is a humanitarian catastrophe that, obviously, does not cause sympathy. Or maybe for the population of Yemen, ravaged by eight years of armed conflict, where hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced and 80% of them are women and children.”

Italy has allocated 13,000 places in refugee centers for Ukrainians. “We wondered if there was a place to sleep even for Sudanese fleeing civil war, who have seen the deaths of 300,000 people, or for Afghans stranded from Europe on the border. border between Bosnia and Croatia. We ask ourselves if they deserve peace. Beyond skin color, that’s it. The Baobob group posted, noting that Italy has set up a National Emergency Fund of 10 million euros to respond to a “serious crisis: the Ukraine crisis. Only one Ukrainian. ”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/refugees-from-other-wars-want-to-know-why-white-ukrainians-get-vip-treatment?source=articles&via=rss Refugees from other wars Want to know why white Ukrainians get VIP treatment

Russell Falcon

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