Nigerians fleeing Ukraine accuse UK of ignoring black refugees
Nigerian refugees fleeing Ukraine say they are being profiled based on their nationality, and are being told they can't enter the UK because they're not Ukrainian.
Nigerian refugees are increasingly claiming that the British government is ignoring black people who fled Ukraine, according to a report by The Guardian.
These refugees' experiences have prompted claims by some that UK ministers would have never started the humanitarian sponsorship plan for Ukrainian refugees were it not aimed at white Europeans.
Although the scheme places no limit on the numbers they're willing to accept from Ukraine, this stands in sharp contrast with the UK government's visa scheme for Afghans that promised spaces for a mere 5,000 people in the first year, only for it to emerge that the spots were taken by Afghans already living in Britain, despite the UK being part of NATO, which was an active participant in the war on Afghanistan.
Another sponsorship scheme launched in 2015 for Syrian refugees managed only 700 placements in seven years compared with promises of tens of thousands for Ukrainians.
Black people "dehumanized"
Senior Policy Manager at the Runnymede Trust, Alba Kapoor, said the UK's response throws up questions of equality amid the claims of black people being "dehumanized" and viewed as African migrants instead of refugees from Ukraine.
“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, adding that the UK still suffers from an inability to view 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.”
24-year-old Alani Iyanuoluwa fled Kiev two weeks ago, and was hoping to be reunited with family in London, but was instead left stranded in a French Part on account of her nationality. She was split up from other refugees from Ukraine because she was black. Other refugees from Africa are facing the same treatment.
“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.
Britain's Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities rejected these claims as "utterly baseless," and 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.
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.”