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Calais: Equal treatment saves lives

The French city of #Calais has long been the epicenter of European migration. Ever since the height of the crisis the refugees experienced in 2015, the city has been notorious for its #refugee camp “The #Jungle”. The camp has been known for squalid conditions and mistreatment of refugees. The mistreatment is reported to have continued even after the “Jungle” was closed in 2019, leaving many in a sort of an ‘asylum limbo’.

Now, more Ukrainian refugees find themselves in #Calais as well.

However, the treatment they receive does not at all correspond to that of #MiddleEastern and #African refugees during previous years. While non-Europeans stuck in Calais have repeatedly complained about poor access to food, water and shelter, #AFP reported that Ukrainian refugees are housed in hotels free of charge, are given quality meals, and receive visa support from British officials on the ground.

That the discrepancy in the treatment of Ukrainians in comparison with the Middle Eastern & African refugees is a product of #racism, is further confirmed by the discrimination against non-white persons arriving from Ukraine.

As reported by Andalou Agency, Mohamed Abouelhoul (28) recently arrived in Calais with his wife Tatiana & daughter Alexa. While his name and appearance may not identify him as Eastern European, Mohamed was born in Ukraine. But, due to his being profiled as a Middle Easterner, him and his family had to pay 50 euros a night for their stay in the hotel.

Such practices could indirectly put lives in danger as their financial situation may not allow everyone to access proper accommodation. It is possible to argue that this unequal treatment might further encourage refugees to embark on the perilous journey across the English Channel in a small boat in hopes of reaching the UK and seeking asylum there. About 28,000 people made the journey in 2021. It is important to note that this year's total is more than double what it was during the same period last year.

While it is of crucial importance to provide safety for Ukrainians fleeing war, it is just as crucial that all other refugees receive the same treatment. Equal treatment saves lives!

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