Since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Western nations, especially NATO member-states, have been taking in Ukrainian refugees; however, this has been happening at the expense of other refugees, who are having the door shut on them.
According to a Foreign Policy article from April 20, Germany is the latest nation to prioritise Ukrainian refugees, telling Afghan refugees who had escaped the Taliban that they had “24 hours” to leave the country, with no room to negotiate.
Tareq Alaows, who serves on the board of the Berlin Refugee Council, told Foreign Policy that the German government claimed that the evictions would be limited to Afghan refugees in short-term “arrival centers,” yet Afghan families who had been residing in other accommodations for years have also been evicted.
Cameroon refugees, fleeing the civil war in their home country, have also been on the receiving end of what Amy Fischer, Amnesty International spokesperson has referred to as discrimination. Ukraine “is making the headlines and is full of white faces,” said Fischer whereas Cameroon is not receiving media attention, nor is it a white European nation, according to Foreign Policy.
The Australian government has received many Ukrainian refugees. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced recently that visa applications from Ukrainians were “being processed as a top priority,” reported SBS News.
Meanwhile, on March 24, 2022, the Morrison government accepted a refugee deal offered by New Zealand in 2013, 9 years ago, allowing 450 refugees to be resettled in New Zealand over the next three years, at the rate of 150 per year, according to The Guardian. This announcement on March 24 came less than a month before Scott Morrison called the 2022 Australian federal election on April 10, which is set for May 21.
On April 7, three days before the election was called, the Australian government released the last refugees from Park Hotel in Melbourne, where they had been residing for up to 9 years, reported the ABC. These releases follow tennis star Novak Djokovic’s temporary detainment there in January 2022, which received significant media attention.
Despite these refugees fleeing war and persecution in the Middle East, they were detained in Park Hotel and other detainment centres, including Nauru. In contrast, visa applications by Ukrainians have been processed at a much faster rate, in the months preceding the federal election. Given that the release of refugees and the signing of the deal with New Zealand only came after a Western athlete experienced the conditions that the refugees were in, it can be suggested that Amy Fischer’s comparison between Cameroon and Ukraine could also be extended to this situation.
As of March 20, a month after the start of the invasion, 5000 visas had been granted to Ukrainians, according to ABC News.
Stuart Jeffery, aka LibertyDownUnder, is the founder of the Australian Liberty Network. He is also the host of the Gumtree of Liberty and Gumtree of Liberty Live podcasts, and is editor of the Liberty Review. Stuart is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts, majoring in international relations, at the University of Southern Queensland.