Tuesday, May 24

First-class refugees and others

More than a month has passed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, since we see the barbarism and suffering in the media every day. People empathizing with the pain of the Ukrainians and Europe receiving those who manage to get out of there. This could be a logical solidarity scenario in the middle of a war. It would be, if within that logic there was room for all the people who suffer from wars and who arrive in Europe every day seeking to save their lives and that of their families, but it is not.

It is shameful and inhumane what is happening, the European Union, which has always exercised such a restrictive policy in terms of borders for migrants and refugees, is now completely overturning, dusting off even the most useless regulations that it had nesting in the drawers; like the temporary protection directive, one he hadn’t used in 20 years despite all the migration crises since then. The same Europe that is unfazed by the thousands of people it lets drown in the sea, year after year, the one for which injustice has already become a landscape.

Some will say that it is just obvious and that it is okay because of the war situation; but at this moment there is more active war conflicts in the world, and hundreds of people who arrive daily from there, what happens is that the victims are not white people and they have not been given even remotely similar protection. And I am not speculating with what I say, the data on international protection for the previous year of the European Asylum Agency; show that 1 in 3 applications filed by nationals of Afghanistan and 1 in 4 by Syrian nationals were rejected. Paradoxical, being so evident the situation of imminent risk of these people in their countries of origin.

Now we are going to Spain, it is impressive how the entire reception system is revolving around what is happening in Ukraine and this would be great news because it is what must happen to protect the lives of the people who force have had to leave their countries; if it weren’t for the obvious differential treatment to the detriment of other refugees. Those who work right now in NGOs and who carry out reception projects or with refugees will know what I am talking about; how now everything is easier, money increases, more staff are hired, reception centers are opened and bureaucratic barriers are minimized (come on, they almost disappear). Ukrainian people now have a priority procedure in the international protection system and even the channels enabled to maintain their asylum applications and databases are different from those of the rest of the refugees, as evidenced by the loss of all asylum applications carried out since January in Valencia, all except those of Ukrainian nationals.

Last year many people were outraged on social networks because it was urgent to save the Afghan women, while others talked about recognizing their rights and guaranteeing the right to asylum. Well, the figures today prove us right. According to data from the Ministry of the Interior on international protection last year, 1,622 applications were received from people from Afghanistan, of which only 744 were granted protection status. Yes, only 45% of the total requests from people who were fleeing an invasion by a terrorist group. Quite little for the barbarism from which it was intended to “save” them.

And here we go again, witnessing social and institutional racism, the hypocrisy of those who privilege some lives over others according to the color of their skin and are amazed because the war touches people “like them”. A year ago they said that receiving Afghans “sends the wrong signal and it is likely to motivate others to leave their homes for the EU.” Today Europe wants to be an example of international solidarity by fully opening its doors to receive refugees, yes, white ones, because here human rights and dignity evaporate as the skin darkens.