Racism Continues Amid Russia-Ukraine War: Africans, Asians and People of Colour Blocked from Fleeing

At The Oslo Desk, we have been receiving messages and witnessing posts in our feed regarding the plight that immigrants of colour, Africans, Asians are being blocked from fleeing Ukraine.

Here is what we found out by following these Twitter accounts: @Damilare_arah, @nzakiev, @yodifiji, and @stephhegarty.

Dr Ayoade Alakija (@yodifiji) Advocate-in-Chief | Co Chair AVDA | Special Envoy @ACTAccelerator WHO | Ex President Athletics Fiji shared these:

Damilare (@Damilare_arah) made a hashtag #AfricansinUkraine where he shared footage from those on the ground:

Nze (@nzekiev) is documenting his journey from Ukraine to Poland:

Stephanie Hegarty (@stephhegarty) is BBC News population correspondent:

Follow also Korrine Sky @korrinesky who has a Twitter thread that coordinate resources for Afro-Caribbean students fleeing Ukraine.

Asians reported blocked from fleeing by SCMP, The Guardian, DW, and Times.

What can you do to help? Here are the resources we found:

Kimberly St. Julian-Varnon, has gathered resources for marginalized refugees in a LinkTree.

Amanda Waliszewska, Joanna Wilkuse, and Anaid are sharing resources on their Instagram pages.

António Vitorino, IOM Director General made the following statement on 3rd March:

“I am alarmed about verified credible reports of discrimination, violence and xenophobia against third country nationals attempting to flee the conflict in Ukraine. 

Let me be clear, discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, nationality or migration status is unacceptable. I deplore any such acts and call on States to investigate this issue and address it immediately. 

Men, women and children from dozens of nationalities, including migrant workers and students living in Ukraine are facing acute challenges as they attempt to leave conflict-affected areas, cross borders into neighboring countries and seek life-saving assistance. 

We are receiving reports of discrimination resulting in heightened risk and suffering. 

Neighboring States need to ensure that all those fleeing Ukraine, are granted unhindered access to territory, regardless of status and in accordance with International Humanitarian Law. Protection and immediate assistance must be provided in a non-discriminatory and culturally appropriate manner, in line with the humanitarian imperative, to all conflict affected people throughout their journey to safety. 

I welcome the European Commission’s proposal to activate the Temporary Protection Directive to assist people fleeing Ukraine and call on Member States to ensure the inclusion of third country nationals in such protection measures. 

In all cases, IOM is committed and ready to assist its Member States and partners to ensure an inclusive response to the humanitarian needs and crisis in Ukraine in line with internationally recognized practices captured by the  Guidelines to Protect Migrants in Countries Experiencing Conflict or Natural Disaster.”

We will continue to develop the story as we receive more information.

Ka Man Mak

Ka Man is an investigative journalist, documentary photographer, and social entrepreneur, as well as the founder of The Oslo Desk. She is a British-born Hong Konger residing in Oslo, Norway. She holds a Master in Environmental Geoscience and have taken numerous diplomas including child psychology, and a course in big data analytics at OsloMet. Made numerous publications in newsletters, magazines and Norwegian newspapers. Interested in edtech, constructive journalism, women in migration, Cantonese language, alternatives to capitalism and asylum policy.