TIMES.KY

Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Sunday, Apr 14, 2024

Racism as usual: Stranded Nigerians accuse UK of ignoring pleas of black refugees fleeing Ukraine

Racism as usual: Stranded Nigerians accuse UK of ignoring pleas of black refugees fleeing Ukraine

Critics say race is an issue in treatment of African students fleeing war in Ukraine

Two weeks ago, Alani Iyanuoluwa fled Kyiv as the Russian invasion intensified. Making her way across Europe, the 24-year-old hoped to be reunited with family in London. Yet for 10 days she has been stranded in a French port – because she is Nigerian.

Iyanuoluwa is among a growing number of refugees who claim the British government is ignoring black people who fled Ukraine.

Their experiences have again raised the issue of race and the UK’s welcome to refugees, prompting claims that ministers would never have unveiled last week’s humanitarian sponsorship scheme for Ukrainians had it not been aimed at white Europeans.

Critics say that while Michael Gove’s scheme places no limit on numbers, it contrasts sharply with the government’s visa scheme for Afghans, which promised spaces for just 5,000 people in the first year. When the scheme finally opened in January, it emerged that most of those spots would be taken by Afghans already living in Britain.

A previous sponsorship scheme, launched in 2015 and largely for Syrian refugees, has been hampered by bureaucracy, managing about 700 placements in seven years compared with Gove’s promise of “tens of thousands” for Ukrainians.

Alba Kapoor, senior policy manager at the Runnymede Trust, said the UK’s response to the Ukrainian crisis had thrown up questions of parity amid claims that black people fleeing the conflict tended to be “dehumanised” and viewed as African migrants rather than Ukrainian refugees. “There’s an obvious question, which is why people of colour who are fleeing war and terror and persecution do not have the right to equal treatment to others,” she said.

“We are still confronted by an inability to properly conceive people from the global south as humans if they are trying to flee war and persecution. That’s a sad place to be – it’s not just the government, but also the press.”

Kapoor said no Alan Kurdi moment – the Syrian boy photographed lying dead on a Turkish beach in 2015 – had been needed to galvanise support for refugees fleeing the fighting.

Jabeer Butt, chief executive of the Race Equality Foundation, said: “Devastatingly, race has undoubtedly been an issue in the level of support provided by the UK government for refugees from Ukraine compared with those from Afghanistan and other places that have faced terrible conflict in recent years.”
Advertisement

The government’s preoccupation with viewing refugees on the basis of where they came from needed to be re-examined. “We cannot blindly accept a tiered system whereby people’s needs are prioritised based on nationality. This feels like being asked by the government to accept that in Britain we value the lives of people with a certain skin colour over others,” he said.

Iyanuoluwa is staying with two other Nigerian students in Boulogne-sur-Mer. All three fear returning to Nigeria because of the dangers of kidnapping and trafficking, but say that as non-Ukrainian nationals they are not eligible for the British schemes, despite two of them having family in the UK.

“We’re coming from war and they are telling us that without a Ukrainian passport we can’t come to the UK, but the UK should consider all residents living in Ukraine when the war started,” she said.

Refugees fleeing Ukraine arriving in Przemysl, Poland, at the beginning of the month.


Iyanuoluwa is among a large group identified by charities that appears to have been split up from other Ukrainians by authorities because they are black.

They include Kevin Kanjuru, from Kenya, who was studying computer science in Kyiv when Russia invaded and has family in Britain – an uncle in Northampton with UK citizenship who is also a local councillor.

They also include Nigerian Michael Uwandu who lived in Ukraine for 12 years but who was separated from his nine-year-old daughter and Ukrainian ex partner who fled before him and has lost contact with them.

The 37-year-old was granted Ukrainian citizenship in late February but had to leave before collecting his passport. Uwandu should be eligible for Gove’s scheme but the lack of proof of citizenship appears to have hampered his application and he has a sister, a British national, and cousin in the UK he is trying to join.

Others seemingly stranded include an Afghan refugee who had refugee status in Ukraine, but is not eligible for the sponsorship scheme – despite a UK national offering to sponsor her.

Clare Moseley, founder of the charity Care4Calais, said: “The UK schemes to help Ukrainian refugees come to Britain are heavily biased towards Ukrainian nationals. But they are not the only people whose homes and lives have been destroyed by the conflict.”

The government’s nationalities and borders bill, which is to return to the House of Commons in the coming weeks, intends to criminalise anyone arriving in the UK without permission, as all asylum seekers do.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities rejected the claims as “utterly baseless.” A spokesperson said: “We are working as fast as possible to house refugees from across the world and are proud this country has provided homes for more than 4,000 Afghans evacuees in such a short space of time.

“The £10,500 provided to councils to support each [Ukranian] arrival is the same level of funding as under the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme and we urge councils to join those who have pledged to support Afghan families, and those who can offer more housing places, to do so.”

Newsletter

Related Articles

TIMES.KY
0:00
0:00
Close
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
×