As organisations working with marginalised communities in the UK, we express our deep concern at the escalating conflict in Ukraine, which will result in catastrophic loss of life, suffering, and subsequently lead to many fleeing the country as refugees.
We view this as an opportunity for Britain to demonstrate that it is a welcoming nation, and ask that the Government does what is right for the people of Ukraine who seek refuge in the UK. Many people in the communities we support have first-hand experience of the horrors that those in Ukraine are now facing. We have an opportunity to make sure our immigration system does not add trauma to trauma.
In terms of the challenges faced by minority groups in Ukraine, the country has a significant Roma community who face entrenched discrimination, and which a climate of conflict will exacerbate. We are also very concerned to hear reports of African, Caribbean and Asian people trying to flee Ukraine but facing discrimination at the borders (particularly at those with Poland). The support we give to Ukraine must be made available to all people in peril regardless of their ethnicity or countries of birth.
We urge that the Nationality and Borders Bill in its current form is immediately revised, as it will criminalise Ukraine nationals based on their resettlement routes, and subject them to inadmissibility procedures, which will in turn prevent them from achieving full refugee status.
We strongly hope that the Government reconsiders this harmful bill and its impact in shaping a hostile environment for migrants, including those impacted by the current conflict in Ukraine.
This statement was released in conjunction with the Coalition of Race Equality Organisations