BRUSSELS (AA) – All people fleeing the war in Ukraine should be allowed into the EU, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity, or skin color, an EU Commission spokesperson said on Wednesday.
Responding to a question on alleged racism against Africans at Ukraine’s western borders with EU countries, spokesperson Anitta Hipper said EU nations were “strongly committed to ensure equal treatment of all people arriving at their borders after fleeing the war in Ukraine.”
Hipper went on to note that this policy was in line with countries’ obligations deriving from the 1951 Geneva Convention on the protection of refugees, to which all EU members are a party.
“We are in contact at all levels with EU member states, Ukraine, and Moldova to ensure that the safe arrival of third country nationals is facilitated,” she said. “The EU is committed to providing access to everyone fleeing the war in Ukraine.”
According to the official, the EU Commission proposed measures to provide quick protection status to all Ukrainians, as well as nationals of third countries and their families, also saying that the commission would facilitate repatriations via the bloc for all such nationals who had been in Ukraine for short stays.
The same day, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Russia’s war on his country affected both Ukrainians and foreigners in “devastating” ways, adding: “Africans seeking evacuation are our friends and need to have equal opportunities to return to their home countries safely. Ukraine’s government spares no effort to solve the problem.”
The African Union had earlier urged all countries to respect international law and show the same empathy and support to all people fleeing war “notwithstanding their racial identity.”
Some students with African origin, which make up some 20% of foreign students in Ukraine, claimed to have experienced racist treatment at the border because of their skin color.