Home International Dirco condemns racism directed at Africans at border posts amid Russia-Ukraine conflict

Dirco condemns racism directed at Africans at border posts amid Russia-Ukraine conflict

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Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela said they had been alerted to cases of racism directed at African nationals at the border of some of the neighbouring countries.

A woman with two children and carrying bags crosses the Slovak-Ukrainian border in Ubla, eastern Slovakia. Picture: AFP

THE DEPARTMENT of International Relations and Co-operation (Dirco) says it has been alerted to cases of racism directed at African nationals who were fleeing Ukraine.

Thousands of people in Ukraine are evacuating to neighbouring countries due to the Russian invasion.

Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela said there were plans to move South Africans out of Ukraine.

“We have around 200 South Africans that are registered with our office and our ambassador in Ukraine, Andre Groenewald, has been busy organising their movement out of the country. Because of the situation in that country we have had to rely on trains as a mode of transport, ” said Monyela.

He said that while the evacuation was taking place they had been alerted to cases of racism directed at African nationals at the border of some of the neighbouring countries.

“We have come across reports that African nationals, regardless of which country they come from, are getting ill-treated at some of the borders and we are hoping that this will be attended to, but it is quite disturbing that you still have episodes of discrimination just because of one’s skin colour, especially under such conditions,” Monyela added.

He said they had advised those stranded in Ukraine to contact the South African embassy or to call the 24-hour operations centre in the department.

Some South Africans stranded in Ukraine took to social media to express their fears.

In an emotional message on Twitter last week, a South African woman pleaded with authorities for help in getting out of the country.

“I represent a larger group of South Africans stuck in eastern Ukraine during a terrible war between Russia and Ukraine, saying we are scared would be an understatement. We are beyond terrified,” she said.

She described the ordeal of having to wake up to the sounds of explosives and missiles to having to abandon their home and take cover in the underground metro because it was the safest place.

“We have exhausted all possibilities for us to evacuate at our own capacity. We plead with you all to share this message so it gets to the right authorities,” she said.

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