Ukrainian Refugees in Europe
States that have resisted receiving refugees fleeing the bitterness of war in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan are now opening their doors to Ukrainians, as Russian forces launch a continued nationwide military offensive.
According to United Nations estimates, nearly 100,000 Ukrainians have already left their homes, at least half of them heading to trains or highways or walking to cross their borders on foot. Officials warned that it could become the world’s next refugee crisis.
Filippo Grande, President of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), thanked and welcomed the governments and peoples that keep their borders open to Ukrainians. At the same time, he warned that a number of them might end up in States led by national governments that had been reluctant to receive refugees in the past or prevented them from entering their territory.
Humanitarian double standards in Europe
Poland, with the assistance of United States soldiers and diplomats, has established treatment centers for Ukrainians. Polish Interior Minister Marius Kaminski, said Thursday: “Anyone fleeing Russian bombs can rely on the support of the Polish State. It should be noted that the Polish Government spent hundreds of millions of dollars on a border wall, a project it started after refugees and migrants from the Middle East tried to reach the country last year but ended up trapped in neighboring Belarus. A few weeks ago, it was quite different, when Poland began building fortifications on its border with Belarus to prevent refugees and asylum-seekers from Iraq, Afghanistan and other migrants from crossing the border.
In Hungary, the army allows Ukrainians to cross parts of the border that were closed. Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, previously described refugees as a threat to his country, and his government was accused of locking the refugees up and starving them.
In the far west, Austrian Consultant Karl Nehammer said, “Of course, we will receive refugees if necessary.” It is worth noting that when he was previously the Minister of Interior, he tried to prevent some Afghans, seeking refuge after the Taliban toppled the government in Kabul, from entering the country.
On the possibility of receiving Ukrainian refugees, the Bulgarian Prime Minister replied: “These are not refugees. We used to deal with them. These are Europeans. So are we. They’re smart, they’re educated and not terrorists. There is an opportunity to apply for asylum to these migrants.”
The Western approach towards the Ukrainian refugees was respectful of human rights standards compared to the cold handling of the Muslim world refugees and perhaps also the developing, non-Muslim world, revealing the reality of the Western world’s values in terms of its double standards and distorted moral reference nature.
Europe’s move to receive those fleeing the Russian bombing was not as inevitable as the treatment of thousands of countries of the South, Asia and Africa, as we did not see the values of humanity and sympathy for the displaced on the Greek border with Turkey, on the border with Belarus or on the North Mediterranean.
In fact, Europe did not move to receive those fleeing the hell of the bombing in Syria, or from the war in Libya, or even African refugees, across the seas along the Mediterranean. Flagrant inconsistencies, blessed by Western media stations and bragged on the air, where NBC’s live reporter stated that these are not refugees from Syria, these are from Ukraine, they are Christians, they are white, they look like us.
Calls on receiving all refugees without discrimination according to countries or race
It is clear that the number of Ukrainian refugees will outnumber that of refugees who entered Europe in the summer of 2015. At that time, more than a million refugees fleeing the Syrian war entered central Europe from Turkey through Greece, mostly to Germany. The States of the European Union has not been able to find a fair and mutually reinforcing distribution mechanism, although the law states that the primary responsibility for the examination of asylum claims in the State of entry. Nevertheless, states led by national-oriented, conservative governments, such as Hungary, Poland, and Austria, refused to accept asylum claims, since the issue of solidarity among states in this regard was the greatest point of contention within the European Union. However, protests have erupted in the European continent demanding that no more refugees be received on the grounds that Europe cannot absorb them, mainly for economic reasons. As the European crisis began, European countries opened their arms to Ukraine refugees, demonstrating a great capacity to absorb large numbers of humanitarian refugees.
We call upon all states to abide by international norms and laws regarding humanitarian asylum and to open doors to refugees without distinguishing between their races and their countries. They are people who have escaped from the hell of war to safer places and should find a secure place to host them.