Photo by Julie Ricard on Unsplash

Europe’s Double Standards towards refugees

Ukraines refugees being treated better than other refugees

Since the end of World War II, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has resulted in one of Europe’s largest and fastest refugee flows. Up to four million people may flee the country in the next weeks, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. By the end of the year, the European Union anticipates seven million refugees. Whatever statistic is correct, it is clear that Europe is in the midst of an unprecedented refugee crisis.

While the EU calls this the “worst humanitarian calamity” Europe has seen in “many, many years,” it’s worth noting that the area just experienced another significant humanitarian disaster, the 2015 refugee “crisis” triggered by the Syrian conflict. However, Europe’s wildly varied responses to these two crises serve as a cautionary tale for anyone desiring a more compassionate and generous Europe. The contrasts also explain why some of those fleeing Ukraine, notably those from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, do not receive the same luxurious treatment as Ukrainians.

Political leaders have openly stated that refugees from Ukraine are welcome, and nations have been ready to accept them at their borders with teams of volunteers distributing food, drink, clothes, and medications. Other EU nations, such as Ireland, have stated that migrants fleeing the Ukraine conflict will be permitted to enter their country even if they do not have passports or other acceptable travel documents.

Throughout Europe, Ukrainian migrants get free public transit and phone service. The EU wants to reactivate the Temporary Protection Directive, which was put in place during the Balkan crisis in the 1990s to deal with large-scale refugee movements. Under this scheme, Ukrainian refugees would be granted up to three years of temporary protection in EU countries without the need to apply for asylum, with rights to a residence permit and access to education, housing, and the labor market.

The EU also wants to make it easier for refugees fleeing Ukraine to cross borders and enter the EU. Many Ukrainian refugees have been moving on from neighboring nations to visit relatives and friends in other EU countries, where they may travel visa-free for 90 days. The public and politicians throughout Europe are rallying to demonstrate sympathy and support for refugees fleeing Ukraine.

This is how the international refugee protection framework should function, especially during times of crisis: refugees are allowed to join family members in other countries; communities and leaders welcome refugees with compassion and solidarity.
However, we are aware that this is not how the international protection regime has worked in Europe, particularly in the countries that are now hosting Ukrainian refugees. Racist and xenophobic language towards refugees and migrants, particularly those from Middle Eastern and African nations, pervades public discourse in Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania, and unfriendly policies such as border pushbacks and harsh detention measures have resulted.

Unfortunately, non-Ukrainians leaving Ukraine’s crisis have reflected these false standards. While seeking to leave Ukraine, students and refugees from Africa, the Middle East, and Asia are increasingly claiming unfair treatment, obstruction, and violence. Many said they were denied boarding trains and buses in Ukrainian cities because Ukrainian citizens were given priority; others claimed they were physically pushed aside and stopped by Ukrainian border guards while attempting to reach neighboring countries.

Although the Polish Ambassador to the United Nations told the United Nations General Assembly that claims of racial or religious discrimination at Poland’s border were a terrible insult to us, Polish officials have been accused of keeping African students and refusing to let them enter the country. [1]

Media commentators, journalists, and politicians have been accused of having double standards for using their platforms to praise Ukraine’s armed resistance against Russian forces while simultaneously expressing dismay at how such a conflict could occur in a “civilized” country.

“This isn’t a place, with all due respect, like Iraq or Afghanistan, where violence has raged for decades,” CBS News senior reporter in Kyiv Charlie D’Agata remarked. This is a reasonably civilized, somewhat European — I have to use my words carefully — city where you wouldn’t anticipate or want such to happen.”

On social media, his comments were welcomed with mockery and outrage, with many pointing out how they led to the further dehumanization of non-white, non-European individuals who are caught in the middle of a media fight.[2]

Everyone preaches on being fair but a crisis like this shows the partiality. This is the sad reality..

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Sidonia Owl

Sidonia Owl

Love writing, drawing and creating fantasy #daydreamer #army