Alfred Maruaha fled his home in South Sudan at the age of nine due to the civil war.
For the next 12 years, he lived in the Kakuma refugee camp, a vast camp with 200,000 inhabitants under the scorching Kenyan sun.
He said life in the camp was hard. He usually ate one meal a day and sometimes went without food. Water was always distributed and was not enough.
“Many people are dying there without hope,” he said.
Maluach came to Canada on a university scholarship in 2011 and holds a master’s degree in biomedical toxicology from the University of Toronto.
Like many Canadians, he has seen war in Ukraine in horror. He feels great sympathy for those who escape violence and those who are forced to leave the house. He is also proud to see how Canada responded to the crisis.
Canada allows Ukrainians fleeing the Russian war to stay for three years
But he wonders why Canada and other Western nations responded to Ukraine in a very different way than responding to other crises in the past.
“I’m not jealous of Canada’s response to Ukraine, because that’s the way they should respond,” Maruaha said. “But the kind of attention given to Ukraine will also benefit other refugees.”
The methods Canada and its European allies have provided to support Ukrainian refugees have been foretold by human rights advocates as a model for future crises. However, the conflict also highlighted long-standing concerns about systematic racism and abuse towards asylum seekers from other countries.
Canada, for example, states that it will grant an unlimited number of Ukrainians temporary residence and work permits. He also promised to create a new “quick path” for permanent residence of Ukrainian citizens whose relatives live in Canada.
Alfred Maluach came to Canada in 2011 to study at the University of Toronto. Prior to that, he lived in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya.
Alfred Maru Aha
According to experts, this is a major departure from previous refugee assistance programs such as Syrians and Afghanistan, with a cap on the number of people accepted and a number, if not years, before the application is approved. It often takes months.
Craig Damian Smith, a displacement expert and senior researcher at Ryerson University, said:
Some people explain these different approaches by pointing out the cultural, historical and political links between Ukraine and the West. For example, Canada has 1.3 million citizens claiming Ukrainian heritage.
Ukrainian non-citizens excluded from the Canadian refugee program during the war
Others say the difference is based on the level of destruction in Ukraine, the speed at which refugees fled the war, and the people heading directly to Europe.
Smith believes that these are all important factors, but does not compensate for the fact that refugees who have faced similarly devastating conflicts in the past do not face such openness. I did.
He also points out that Canada’s offer to help those fleeing the Russian invasion has been extended only to Ukrainian citizens. Not everyone who lives in Ukraine and escapes the war.
“The bottom line is that there is a clear double standard here,” Smith said.
The difference is “stark”
While living in a UN-run camp in Kenya, Maruaha applied for study in Australia. He said he eventually gave up his thoughts when he didn’t get a reply. He then applied for study abroad in Canada and said it would take two years to be accepted.
“It’s easy to say that it’s racism, but it goes very deep into other issues,” he said.
Colonialism is another factor that explains why refugees from Africa are treated differently, Maruaha said.
Alberta man helping relatives from Ukraine dissatisfied with the red tape of the Canadian program
Gurminder K. Bambra, a professor of postcolonial studies at the University of Sussex, is a stereotype of asylum seekers from Africa: they are motivated by economic interests and do not actually escape war or conflict. I pointed out. West.
Bambra said these stereotypes make people believe that refugees from Africa are “fake” and unworthy of aid.
The irony of these stereotypes is that Europe’s wealth and economic prosperity are directly linked to the “disastrous” of other parts of the world, often a direct result of Western foreign policy goals.
“The standard of living gap between Europe and other countries is not a natural gap,” Bhambra wrote in 2015.
2:15European countries add services as Ukraine’s refugee crisis expands
European countries add services as Ukraine’s refugee crisis expands
The World Bank and the United Nations estimate that refugees will take an average of 10 to 26 years to resettle in a safe third country. These precarious situations often mean that refugees are denied access to work, medical care, education and other social services.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as of November 2021, 84 million people worldwide were forced to leave their homes due to conflict. This includes about 26.6 million refugees, of whom about 20 million are supported by the United Nations.
These figures do not include 3.7 million people who have fled Ukraine since the invasion of Russia on February 24, or 6.5 million people who have been forced to leave their homes that still live in Ukraine.
However, unlike the Western response to the past refugee crisis, experts say, the response to Ukraine was swift and powerful.
Central European preparation for more Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russian war
For example, the European Union has launched a temporary protection directive that has never been used, granting millions of Ukrainians on the run the right to live, work and study in EU member states.
Jerena Cesar, EU Specialist at Amnesty International on the Balkan Peninsula, said:
“For years we have recorded cases of people being grouped, handcuffed, and beaten on uniforms without insignia by men wearing black uniforms and balaclavas. There have also been cases of being raped by branches and women who have been sexually assaulted.
“All this has been done for years under the supervision of the European Union.”
Asylum seekers are facing abuse
Some of the countries currently admired for working with Ukrainian refugees have previously been accused of human rights abuses and ill-treatment of asylum seekers.
Professor Serena Parekh of Northeastern University in Boston said that the method Western countries provided to help Ukrainians was exactly how to treat refugees.
But she also used aggressive “pushback” policies to prevent certain asylum seekers from crossing borders, especially in countries where compared to how others are treated. He said it was difficult to overlook the contradiction.
“At this point, it’s just annoying that people don’t talk about the fact that this is what Poland is doing to refugees on the border between Syria and Belarus from Africa,” she said. ..
Black migrants fleeing Ukraine outline the challenges of crossing national borders to gain refugee status
Published in 2021 by Lighthouse Reports, a consortium of major European media, dozens of violent tactics used along the eastern border of Europe to thwart asylum seekers in Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. An example was recorded.
The video shows a refugee being beaten with a baton and pushed into the Korana River, which separates the EU from Bosnia and Herzegovina. These attacks were reportedly carried out by a man who appeared to be masked by the Croatian border guard. Other videos show pushbacks allegedly made by the Greek Coast Guard. This includes one video showing the Coast Guard shooting in the direction of 25 refugees with a rubber dinghy and hitting them with a stick.
“These things have always been part of the liberal democracy paradox,” Palek said. “We help and push away at the same time.”
1:47Aid groups react to the tragedy of the English Channel, saying immigrants need better options
Aid groups react to the tragedy of the English Channel, saying immigrants need better options – November 25, 2021
Pushback, which is illegal under international and EU law, is not limited to countries along the eastern border of Europe.
The United Kingdom recently proposed using the Royal Navy to thwart asylum seekers across the Straits, and last year conducted training exercises with border guards on armored jet skis.
At least 27 people killed in a series of migrant ship accidents leaving Greece
However, in response to the Ukrainian crisis, the UK has announced that it will give $ 450 a month to anyone in the UK who is willing to share a home with Ukrainian refugees.
The announcement discusses a bill that would allow UK MPs to set up an offshore processing center for asylum seekers and could criminalize anyone entering the country without proper documentation. It was done at the same time as I was there.
Canada has a long history of dealing with the refugee crisis.
In 2018, Canada resettled more refugees than any other country in the world – 28,100.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government has also recently promised resettlement of 40,000 Afghan refugees and previously 40,000 Syrians.
Asylum seekers are facing abuse and discrimination in Canada’s immigration detention system, the report said.
Canada also approves thousands of refugee claims each year by people appearing on the border.
However, refugee advocates have criticized Canada’s efforts to prevent asylum seekers from arriving in Canada.
In 2011, former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper government filed irregular immigrants in Canada after two boats carrying 568 asylum seekers from Sri Lanka arrived on the coast of British Columbia. We have started a program aimed at blocking it.
Police and military personnel will wear surgical masks when boarding the MV Sancy after being escorted to CFB Esquimalt in Colwood, British Columbia on August 13, 2010.
Jonathan Hayward / Canadian Press
According to a July 2020 ruling by Judge Anne McDonald in federal court, the government also sent asylum seekers on the border back to the United States, where they were criticized for being “immediately and automatically imprisoned.” There is.
This decision was overturned by the Federal Court of Appeals and is now being filed with the Canadian Supreme Court.
A 2021 report published by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International also accused Canada of abusive tactics aimed at asylum seekers. This includes unnecessarily shackling and handcuffing migrant detainees and keeping colored people longer than white detainees.
Federal Court Rulings Canada-US Safe Triple Entente Unconstitutional
In contrast, Canada opened its doors to Ukrainians fleeing the war with Russia.
“Our commitment to Ukrainians goes beyond the historical connection between Canada and Ukraine, and beyond the cultural connection between our people,” said Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration. I tweeted on the 3rd of March.
Maluach said this is a commitment that should be extended equally to all.
He knows that the situation in each situation is different and the response to these crises is not always the same, but it is no longer worth canceling out all segments of the population as not worth the help. He said it was not an option.
“We all have the same desire. We all want the best life,” Maruaha said.
“All humans deserve our welcome, generosity, and Canadians are generally very generous people.”
Millions of refugees around the world are suffering as the West opens the door to Ukraine-nationwide