African Students Struggling to Flee Ukraine Hindered by Racial Bias and Discrimination

FILE – African residents in Ukraine wait at the platform inside Lviv railway station, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022, in Lviv, west Ukraine. As hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians seek refuge in neighboring countries, cradling children in one arm and clutching belongings in the other, leaders in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Moldova and Romania are offering a hearty welcome. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue, File)

As the world stands in solidarity with Ukraine and its people, the growing refugee crisis spotlight racial bias and inequality in who is and isn’t allowed to cross international borders. Several accounts surfaced online over the weekend of African students and students from the Middle East and India being denied access to transportation not allowed to cross borders into neighboring countries.  

The Irish Times estimated African students comprise 20 percent of Ukraine’s international student enrollment. The outlet shared the account of a Nigerian medical student who alleged his university bused British students to the Polish border but left African students to fend for themselves.

Nigerian journalist and political satirist Adeola Fayehun opened her platform to Africans trying to leave Ukraine. One man shared his disappointment in Embassy officials and not having better support for people trying to leave the country. Being told there are refugee camps, food and other resources isn’t helpful if people can’t reach them.  

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Stephanie Haggerty, a BBC correspondent, confirmed several instances in the Ukrainian city of Lviv of African students having trouble leaving the country.  

Another Nigerian student told Al Jazeera that their school only provided shelter for students to ride out the attack, but no other support. Al Jazeera also reported accounts from several Nigerian students who shared their experiences, including one man who described being in a vehicle that broke down and allegedly being robbed by Ukrainian nationals leaving him to walk to the border.   

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SOURCE: NewsOne, Anoa Changa

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