Press cartoon of the week Ukraine invasion ︱ Refugees

A selective welcome

Published on 23 March 2022 at 12:02

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, by 22 March more than 3.6 million people were forced to flee Ukraine to neighbouring countries – Poland in particular – since the beginning of the Russian invasion on 24 February. 

Across Europe, these victims of the Russian offensive have been met with solidarity, whether at the national and governmental level, or on the ground, where volunteers often travel long distances to bring help.   

However, there is a certain imbalance to all this international solidarity, as numerous accounts of racist treatment at the border testify. For some, the open-armed embrace of Ukrainian refugees offers stark evidence of how politicians and the media treat refugees differently according to their origins.

To respond to the needs of those who have fled Ukraine, the 2001 Temporary Protection Directive, deployed for the first time in its existence on 4 March 2022, provides protected status to refugees. While this decision was broadly celebrated, certain NGOs, such as Amnesty International, noted that certain people fleeing Ukraine are not eligible for EU protection.

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