Welcome to the Black & Asian News, European Edition!
Did you know that the EU’s motto is “United in Diversity”? Well, if you didn’t know, you’re not the only one. It is obviously difficult to believe it these days, as the Ukraine war exposes European racism. As already documented in the February’s issue of this newsletter, you will find below various other news articles on the way African and Asian students fleeing Ukraine were treated by European countries. It’s worth watching a short BBC documentary on the trauma of escaping.
I have also included below new articles on “The Racist and Dehumanizing Double Standards of War Reporting”, as Syria remains the world’s largest refugee crisis in decades according to the UNHCR and that some European countries have closed their borders to Syrian asylum-seekers. There is also an interesting comment on the fading media spotlight on Afghanistan and a long read on Afghan asylum seekers stuck in British hotels.
If you wish to know more on how the EU tackles inequalities, you will also find below documents by different EU bodies on this topic, including the EU Anti-racism action plan.
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GENERAL EUROPEAN NEWS
The Racist and Dehumanizing Double Standards of War Reporting, Common Dreams, 17 March 2022
“Ukrainians deserve our compassion. So do victims of war everywhere else. Today, Syria remains the world’s largest refugee crisis in decades. Yet many countries have treated the over 6 million Syrian refugees with suspicion and hostility. Some European countries closed their borders to Syrian refugees and asylum-seekers…”
From governments to volunteers, here’s some of the ways Europeans are helping families fleeing the Ukraine war, Thomas Reuters Foundation News, 24 March 2022
Many European countries [Poland, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic] have moved quickly to support more than 3.6 million refugees who have fled Ukraine in the last month, about half of whom are children.
Europe’s embrace of Ukrainian refugees, explained in six charts and one map, Vox, 19 March 2022
“Data shows why Ukrainian refugees are being treated differently than others fleeing violence.”
The media spotlight on Afghanistan is fading fast – but the agony of its people is far from over, The Guardian, 18 March 2022
“Afghans have been fighting since the 70s for the same reason Ukrainians are fighting but they have been neglected and betrayed.”
Putin’s war on Ukraine: Aftershocks in the Europe-Africa partnership, ECFR, 21 March 2022
“The war looks set to create daunting challenges for African countries in areas such as food and energy security. Now more than ever, it is vital for Europe to show solidarity with them.”
Values and rights, rule of law, security, Conference on the Future of Europe, March 2022
“The EU constantly works to tackle inequalities in our Union, for example through the EU Gender Equality Strategy, the Anti-Racism Action Plan or the LGBTIQ Equality Strategy. These actions build upon anti-discrimination rights established in the Charter of Fundamental Rights that prohibit any discrimination based on any ground such as race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, as well as ethnic or social origin.”
The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) issues a new General Policy Recommendation to Council of Europe member states – Intercultural Cities Newsroom (coe.int), Council of Europe, 1 March 2022
“The Council of Europe’s expert body on racism and intolerance (ECRI) has published today a revised General Policy Recommendation on preventing and combating anti-Muslim racism and discrimination to help prevent and counter increasing public manifestations of anti-Muslim racism and discrimination across Europe.”
Anti-racism commission publishes conclusions on Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia, Council of Europe, 3 March 2022
“The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) published today its conclusions on the implementation of its priority recommendations addressed to Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia in 2019.”
After shaky start, Belgium begins to cope with influx of Ukrainian refugees, Euronews, 17 March 2022
“There are 40 registration counters at the new one, with thousands of refugees already processed. According to government figures, nearly 10,000 Ukrainians have now been registered in Brussels. Belgian authorities say they expect up to 200,000 refugees to arrive in the country — an amount Dominique Ernould, spokesperson for Belgiums’ Foreigners Office, says they can handle.”
Five things we learned from Macron and Le Pen’s Sunday interviews, Le Local France, 27 March 2022
“Le Pen is currently on the campaign trail in Guadeloupe. Her interview was cut short after she was attacked by a pro-independence group on the Caribbean island who grabbed her microphone, leading security to step in. “I find it unacceptable that the ideas of the far-right can spread around like they are at Club Med. This land, I remind you, is a land of slavery, a land of victims of the ideological ancestors of Marine Le Pen,” said Ronald Selbonne of the Alyans Nasyonal Gwadloup.”
Far-right Zemmour threatens to seize African leaders’ assets if they don’t take back immigrants, France 24, 24 March 2022
“Zemmour, 63, a former political commentator, has made immigration and security the centre of his campaign and said this week that, if elected, he would create a Ministry of “Re-Immigration” that would deport hundreds of thousands of immigrants over his five-year term.”
Minor Ukrainian refugees face racist remarks aboard train to Paris: report, Yeni Safak, 21 March 2022
“Customs officials shout at 5 minors calling them Romanians, Arabs, according to Le Parisien newspaper.”
The Racist Zoo Where Visitors Paid to See Black People in the 90s, Vice, 15 March 2022
“Safari Africain is a shameful, long-forgotten part of French history – and the subject of a new documentary.”
“CAGE has launched a landmark report in Paris highlighting the unprecedented crackdown on Muslims in France under the sweeping ‘Systematic Obstruction’ powers. The report comes four years after the commencement of the anti-Muslim policies. The analysis demonstrates how the measures amounts to a Persecution of Muslims in France, as defined in international law.”
German schools prepare for influx of Ukrainian refugee children, Deutsche Welle, 17 March 2022
“German schools want to make sure that Ukrainian refugee children do not lose out on education. But, after two years of the coronavirus pandemic, the system is already overstretched.”
Music, martial arts, and extremism in Germany, EU Observer, 18 March 2022
“The key issue to understand about right-wing terrorist and violence-oriented extremist financing — and it’s a reason lawmakers should take some encouragement — is that most of it currently occurs in plain sight, at large music and sports events that in turn have helped foster a growing merchandise industry…Turnover from the sale of right-wing extremist music and merchandise in Saxony alone was estimated at around €3.5m in 2012, when the figures were last compiled.”
Rights watchdog calls for ‘greater urgency and prioritisation’ of elimination of racism in Ireland, Irish Legal News, 21 March 2022
On the proposed online safety laws, the Commission recommends the definition of harmful online content in the proposed legislation be clear and sufficiently precise. This should include online hate speech and content inciting violence or hatred against protected groups. The Commission also sets out that terms relating to hate speech, such as racism, should be clearly defined in this law.
Italian Mayor Who Housed Mideast and African Migrants Faces 13 Years in Prison, The Intercept, 22 March 2022
“While welcoming refugees from Ukraine, Italy continues its “Fortress Europe” prosecution of former Mayor Domenico Lucano…Salvini and his fascistic Northern League party saw a profound threat in the Riace model’s success: By white nationalist lights, a town is better dilapidated and abandoned than revived as a home for nonwhite migrants. At the time of the arrest, Salvini accused Lucano of “colonizing Italy with migrants.””
Victims of Dutch childcare benefits scandal struggle to move on, Thomas Reuters Foundation News, 17 March 2022
“Thousands of Dutch parents were wrongfully accused of childcare benefit fraud by the tax agency, with many targeted on the basis of ethnicity.”
Embraced or pushed back: on the Polish border, sadly, not all refugees are welcome, The Guardian, 3 March 2022
“The warm reception given to Ukrainians starkly reveals the hostility to other desperate refugees on the Belarus border…I look on as the soldiers help Ukrainian women and children with their heavy luggage. I watch as they play with the children and caress their faces. As the scene unfolds, I can’t help but think that this is the same border force which, for months, a short distance north, along the same eastern border, has been violently pushing back asylum seekers from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan who attempt to cross the frontier from Belarus.”
People of colour fleeing Ukraine attacked by Polish nationalists, The Guardian, 3 March 2022
“Non-white refugees face violence and racist abuse in Przemyśl, as police warn of fake reports of ‘migrants committing crimes’…Attackers dressed in black sought out groups of non-white refugees, mainly students who had just arrived in Poland at Przemyśl train station from cities in Ukraine after the Russian invasion. According to the police, three Indians were beaten up by a group of five men, leaving one of them hospitalised.”
Why romanticising the Soviet Union obscures its colonial past, Gal-Dem, 28 February 2022
“As new generations are drawn into leftist ideologies, it’s crucial to remember USSR’s violence in North and Central Asia.”
Record high number of migrants are dying on the way to the Canary Islands, Deutsche Welle, 17 March 2022
“More than 4,000 African migrants died in 2021 while trying to reach the Canary Islands by boat, according to some sources. There have never been so many deaths as now, aid workers are saying.”
Switzerland’s S permit for refugees from Ukraine, Swissinfo, 16 March 2022
“The protection status “S” was created following the Balkan conflicts in the 1990s but it was never used until now. It allows refugees to live and work in Switzerland for a year with an option to extend if necessary…The government said it had allocated 5,000 places in Swiss federal asylum centres for people fleeing the war. Some 45,000 places have been offered by private citizens in their homes.”
Why Switzerland doesn’t want to join the European Union, Swissinfo, 4 March 2022
“…The arrangement with bilateral contracts has so far allowed Switzerland to have a close but direct relationship with the EU tailored to Swiss needs…”Switzerland is therefore afraid of “wage dumping” and immigration into its welfare system… “In my view, the free movement of people is an important argument against being in the EU for many Swiss as well as the British,” Walter says. There are large numbers of EU migrants in Switzerland, just as there are in Britain, she says.”
How neutral is Switzerland, really?, Swissinfo, 1 March 2022
“It isn’t easy being neutral these days. With unilateralism on the rise in global politics, Switzerland is finding it more difficult to interpret its neutrality. In an increasingly polarised world, Swiss political decisions risk upsetting one partner or the other.”
Nurse cares for surrogate children in Kyiv as war stops her seeing her own, Reuters, 16 March 2022
“Ukrainian nurse Oksana Martynenko and her colleagues have 21 babies to look after at a makeshift clinic in a residential basement on the outskirts of Kyiv – all of them surrogates whose parents cannot come to collect them because of the war…Ukraine is an international surrogacy hub, involving thousands of babies each year in normal times…”
British couple stranded in Ukraine after collecting newborn surrogate twins, Evening Standard, 28 February 2022
“The couple said the British Embassy has asked them to drive 14 hours to Lviv to collect the emergency travel documents they need to return to the UK.”
Ukraine: Why so many African and Indian students were in the country, BBC News, 4 March 2022
“Ukraine was home to over 76,000 foreign students, according to government data from 2020.
Nearly a quarter of the students were from Africa, with the largest numbers coming from Nigeria, Morocco and Egypt. India easily accounts for the highest portion with over 20,000 students. The students – studying medicine, engineering and business – are an important part of the country’s economy.”
Stranded Indian students ‘watched as Ukrainian pets crossed border to safety’, Open Democracy, 2 March 2022
“African, Asian and Caribbean people said they had seen refugees being assaulted and others left needing emergency treatment for hypothermia… checkpoint guards became violent when attempting to control the crowd, pushing people back and pointing guns at students. “When one woman fell to the ground, a guard dragged her by hair,” said Jayesh, who is from Mumbai… According to the Ukrainian government, there are 76,548 international students from 155 nations enrolled at the country’s universities. The largest group, accounting for almost a quarter of the foreign student population, are Indian nationals. They are followed by Moroccans, Turkmenistanis, Azerbaijanis and Nigerians.”
Ukraine war: Indian students on the trauma of escaping, BBC News, 10 March 2022
“Watch as the BBC follows some of the thousands of Indian students who’ve been evacuated from Ukraine – with one so traumatised that he is unable to speak. India’s government is evacuating the final group of more than 17,000 Indian students who were stranded. The BBC’s Divya Arya is on the Polish-Ukrainian border hearing some of their stories.”
Ukraine’s refugees: how many are displaced and where will they go?, The Guardian, 3 March 2022
“More than 1 million people have already crossed the border, with numbers set to rise as the Russian invasion intensifies. What has been the response of neighbouring countries?”
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