AU condemns ill-treatment of Africans in Ukraine


Many African nationals stranded in Ukraine are looking for alternative routes to leave the country. © Mehdi Chebil, FRANCE24

The African Union (AU) has condemned the singling out of Africans for dissimilar treatment in Ukraine, describing such conduct as “shockingly racist” and a breach of international law.

The current Chair of the African Union and President of the Republic of Senegal, H.E. Macky Sall, and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, have said in a statement released yesterday that they are following closely the developments in Ukraine.

According to the statement, the two are particularly disturbed by reports that African citizens on the Ukrainian side of the border are being refused the right to cross the border to safety.

“The two Chairpersons recall that all people have the right to cross international borders during conflict, and as such, should enjoy the same rights to cross to safety from the conflict in Ukraine, notwithstanding their nationality or racial identity.

“Reports that Africans are singled out for unacceptable dissimilar treatment would be shockingly racist and in breach international law,” reads part of the statement.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many people including Africans have ben trying to flee to Ukraine’s neighbours. However, there have been complaints from Africans that they have spent days at the border where they are being treated differently and sometimes prevented from leaving.

According to Reuters, several African have shared videos and testimonies on social media, denouncing discrimination at train stations and border posts.

African students who spoke to news site FRANCE24 earlier this week said they were turned back by Ukrainian border guards while attempting to cross into Poland.

“They stopped us at the border and told us that Blacks were not allowed. But we could see White people going through,” said Moustapha Bagui Sylla, a student from Guinea. He said he fled his university residence in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, as soon as the bombing began.

However, Ukrainian authorities rejected the claims saying they were only barring Ukrainian men aged between 18 and 60.

Meanwhile, the African Union has urged all countries to respect international law and show the same empathy and support to all people fleeing war notwithstanding their racial identity.

The AU has also commended efforts by African Union Member State countries and their embassies in neighbouring countries to receive and orientate African citizens and their families trying to cross the border from Ukraine to safety.

Meanwhile, the African Union has urged all countries to respect international law and show the same empathy and support to all people fleeing war notwithstanding their racial identity.

The AU has also commended efforts by African Union Member State countries and their embassies in neighbouring countries to receive and orientate African citizens and their families trying to cross the border from Ukraine to safety.