Joint statement UN Human rights council

Joint Statement at 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council

Brussels, 23 March 2022 –

Statement at 49th session of the UN Human Rights Council

General Debate Item 8  

Speaker: Ojeaku Nwabuzo, ENAR 

Full Text Statement 

Thank you, Mr. President.

This is a joint statement by over 60 organisations.

We call the Council’s attention to the human rights situation of Africans and other racialised groups following reports of discrimination and violence at EU borders. As expressed jointly by Special Procedures including the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent and other Special Rapporteurs with a mandate on racial discrimination and the human rights of migrants, we are deeply concerned that Black people and other racialised groups are subjected to discriminatory treatment as they flee Ukraine and face subsequent discriminatory treatment within the EU. Bombs, cluster munitions and heavy artillery do not discriminate on the grounds of race or nationality. All human beings crossing European borders from Ukraine are fleeing the same dangers to their personal life and bodily integrity requiring them to seek refuge in another land than the one in which they reside.

Over the last weeks, there have been credible reports of officials preventing students of African descent and their dependents from crossing the Ukrainian border and reported restrictions including of visas. These have been widely reported in the media.

The prohibition against racial discrimination is a fundamental right of international law with applicability across situations of conflict and peace. Given the armed conflict taking place in Ukraine, the rights to life, liberty, dignity, and safety of all people must be recognized under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). Just in February, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi issued a statement concerning the increasing number of incidents of violence, ill treatment and serious human rights violations against refugees and migrants at various European borders, several of which have resulted in tragic loss of life.

It is essential that equal treatment by agents of the State, especially border officials, is upheld. It is concerning, however, that the EU guidelines on external border management is a non-binding document, which does not provide necessary assurances for equal treatment.  

We urge European States to uphold their obligations to respect fundamental human rights and the right to asylum and to ensure equal treatment and protection for all those displaced as a result of the crisis in Ukraine, regardless of immigration status, by eliminating racial profiling and mistreatment by state agents. 

It’s time that the total disregard for Black lives stops. We can no longer allow for people of African descent and other racialised groups to be dehumanised at the European borders. 


European Network Against Racism with International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) 


  • A Qui Le Tour ?
  • African Canadian Association (ACAO)
  • Afrodiccionario- Spain/USA
  • Agora Dernegi
  • Àltera – Italy
  • Apna Haq
  • Asociación Iglesia de Cristo Estrella Creciente- Panamá
  • CABBAK (Collectif Afroféministe Biel/Bienne Afrofeministisches Kollektiv)
  • café révolution
  • Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
  • Centre for Peace Studies
  • Centro Familiar Afro-Santeño- Panamá
  • Changuinola Afrocaribbean (CHAFROC)- Panamá
  • CIG
  • CIIB
  • CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
  • Collectif Faites des Vagues
  • CRAN (Carrefour de réflexion et d’action contre le racisme anti-Noir – Observatoire du racisme anti-Noir en Suisse)
  • Czech Helsinki Committee
  • Equipo de Implementación Decenio Afrodescendiente – España
  • Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
  • Estonian Human Rights Centre
  • European Network of Women of African Decent (ENWAD)
  • European Network on Statelessness
  • Fair Trials
  • Federación Union Africana, Spain
  • Fundación Wake Up- Panamá
  • Generation 2.0 RED
  • Greek Forum of Migrants
  • Haringey Welcome
  • HERA Mission
  • Hijas de Alkebulan- Panamá
  • IDPAD Coalition UK
  • Ilex Acción Jurídica
  • Inequalities Research Network
  • Irish Network Against Racism (INAR)
  • Ivorian Community of Greece
  • Kazumba
  • Legal Resource Center
  • Leitner Center on International Lae and Justice of Fordham Law School
  • L’Eliana Vol.- Spain
  • Les Foulards Violets
  • Lëtz Rise Up
  • Migrant Tales Blog 
  • Migrant Women Association Malta 
  • New Urban Collective 
  • Permanence juridique pour les mineurs non-accompagné.e.s et les requérant.e.s d’asile non accompagné.s 
  • PICUM 
  • Red de Jóvenes Afropanameños- Panamá 
  • Research Group DHEPP / Goiás State University (UEG, Brazil) 
  • Sdružení pro integraci a migraci (SIMI) 
  • Sillage Association 
  • Society Moko 
  • SOS Racisme Danmark 
  • Stichting Ocan 
  • The Center for Migration, Gender, and Justice (CMGJ) 
  • Transitional Justice Institute-Ulster University 
  • Uhuru Valencia – Spain, València ès Refugi – Spain 
  • UK Chapter of Global Afrikan Congress 
  • Voces de Mujeres Afrodescendientes en Panamá- Panamá 
  • Waterford Integration Services 
  • Zavod Krog 

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:    

Nabil Sanaullah, ENAR Communication and Press Officer 

Mobile: +32 (0)475 988 585 – Email: – Web:   

Notes to editors:   

  • The European Network Against Racism (ENAR aisbl) stands against racism and discrimination and advocates equality and solidarity for all in Europe. We connect local and national anti-racist NGOs throughout Europe and voice the concerns of ethnic and religious minorities in European and national policy debates. 

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