In the aftermath of Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine, we observed a new EU policy toward asylum-seekers on the move. EU-sponsored help is rushing toward the “borders” of Poland to support Ukrainian refugees. Those holding a Ukrainian passport will be granted a protection status unconditionally and without due processing of their asylum case for 3 years. The asylum-seekers are profiled according to their nationality to select only Ukranians and not others who have been living in Ukraine and are affected and threatened by the conflict. Border officers implement EU-supported racial profiling to exclude non-Ukrainians from these benefits and protection. Cases of violent abuse of persons of colour trying to cross the border have also been reported.
Such a reaction from the EU states proves that supporting people on the move is possible. It is possible to open the borders, send busses and organise safe routes. It is possible to let people who lost their homes cross the border, without doing illegal push backs and endangering and abusing them. It is possible to send warm blankets and tooth brushes instead of letting people freeze in the forest during winter. All that is possible.
Nevertheless, it is obvious that such measures stem from the EU’s double standards and political interests: While African and Middle-eastern asylum-seekers are excluded from such plans, the EU – and Germany at its core – is leading such policies only to ensure its media propaganda and secure a clean reputation for its politicians. While Ukranians get a free pass to cross the borders, other asylum-seekers of color are drowning in the Mediterranean sea and are freezing to death at the borders of Belarus and Poland.
It is crucial to recognize such double standards along with denouncing war and bilateral threats that cause the war. We need to acknowledge that the differentiations made between white and non-white people are racist, unjustifiable and inhuman. The concept of borders and nations kill the most precarious populations. Therefore,
1. We condemn the war in Ukraine and blame all sides for provoking a human catastrophe in Europe. Russia, the EU, the US and NATO have blood on their hands. While Russian rockets are targeting civilians, Frontex is killing people elsewhere through push backs, externalization and ignorance.
2. Admission of asylum-seekers at the borders of the EU should be non-conditional to everyone regardless of their skin color and passport. Everyone who needs a safe passage to distance themselves from war and misery should be provided with a free pass to go where they want.
3. Human life is more precious than a handful of Dollars, Rubles and Euros. The value of life should be recognized not only at the internal and external borders of Europe, but in Aleppo, Gaza, Kabul, Mogadishu and anywhere Europe is intervening and interfering politically. Peace can only be achieved in the world when war and killing machines are stopped everywhere.
4. The racial screening of asylum-seekers at the borders should be stopped immediately and all those in need of humanitarian aid and protection should be able to receive them without delay. Racism exacerbates during times of conflict, so we consider it our most essential task to denounce the racist measures of EU policies and call to dismantle Frontex and border controls as executive arms of state-sponsored racism and violence.
We’ll Come United