Ukraine Urgent Appeal

March 2, 2022    0 comment


March 1, 2022
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
C/O Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
C/O Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
C/O Working Group on the Rights of People of African Descent
United Nations Office at Geneva
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

To: High Commissioner Bachelet and United Nations Special Mandate Holders:

Persons of African descent, their legal representatives, and concerned members of civil society
are appealing to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, and all relevant mandate holders to request urgent action regarding the racial discrimination levied at persons of African descent and other racial and ethnic minorities by Ukrainian and Polish governments, military forces, police forces, and border control agents.

WE STAND UNITED with the people of Ukraine against the tyranny that threatens their sovereignty and their basic human rights. We are horrified by what we perceive to be war crimes and murder perpetrated against civilians. We are devasted by the destruction of cultural monuments and attempts to destroy Ukrainian culture and heritage.

WE STAND UNITED with the nations that have opened their borders and given refuge to asylum seekers, including Poland.

WE STAND AGAINST the documented cases of racial discrimination perpetrated by the Ukrainian military and police against persons of African descent, in particular, the video footage of a Black mother and child being beaten by military police and forced off a train in Ukraine. We stand against the numerous documented incidents of racial discrimination levied against persons of African descent and African students fleeing war, and we believe this to be a pattern and practice and not an isolated incident.

WE STAND AGAINST the documented cases of racial discrimination perpetrated by the Polish military and border control agents who have disproportionately turned away refugees of African descent and other racial minorities. In particular, a Nigerian medical student reported that border guards are sending Black people to the back of the line and stating that they have to let Ukrainians cross the border first. Moreover, there have been media reports of Polish police/military/border agents threatening to shoot Black students who reached the border and segregating people into lines for entry into Poland based upon race. We believe this to be a pattern and practice and not an isolated incident.

WE STAND AGAINST the documented cases of racial discrimination perpetrated by Ukraine and Poland against other racial minorities including but not limited to persons of Asian descent. For example, there is documented evidence of an Indian student being beaten by a Ukrainian or Polish border agent.

WE STAND AGAINST the media using comparisons of conflict that perpetuate racism and stereotypes.
Persons of African descent and racial minorities fleeing the war zone in Ukraine are facing the dual atrocity and unfathomable reality of being foreigners in a war-torn nation and experiencing racial discrimination as bombs, missiles, and gunfire explode at their feet as they flee. The signatories to this coalition will work as a collective to hold any nation committing war crimes against persons on the basis of racial discrimination accountable before international tribunals.

We urgently request that you support our call for the Ukrainian and Polish state and local governments, military, and police to:

  1. Enter executive orders directing all governmental agencies, military, and police to treat persons of African descent and other racial minorities with equity;
  2. Enter executive orders directing all governmental agencies, military, and police to stop using violent means and/or any other methodology to prevent persons of African descent and racial minorities from fleeing Ukraine and seeking refuge; and,
  3. Enter executive orders directing all governmental agencies, military, and police to stop discriminating against persons of African descent seeking asylum and refuge at their borders, and to admit persons of African descent and racial minorities at rates equal to other persons.
    We further request as the situation in Europe evolves that the United Nations should call upon state and local governments, military, and police of any nation that threatens the human rights of persons based upon their race to immediately cease and desist in engaging in acts of racism, including Russia. We also request that you address the media and request that the media refrains from using comparisons of conflict that perpetuate racism and stereotypes.

We thank you for your urgent attention to this matter.
Respectfully Submitted,

Jasmine Rand, Esquire
International Human Rights Attorney/George Floyd Family Attorney
United States of America

Benjamin Crump, Esquire
International Human Rights Attorney/George Floyd Family Attorney
United States of America

Carlos Moore, Esquire
President National Bar Association
United States of America

Donald Deya
Pan African Lawyers Association, CEO
Tanzania

Honourable Bell Ribeiro-Addy M.P.
United Kingdom

Viv Ahmun
Black Sox, Director
United Kingdom

Dr. Will Mutunga
Former Chief Justice of Kenya

Judge Peter Herbert, OBE (Retired)
Co-Chair of Bandung Conference, Kenya
Chair of the Society of Black Lawyers United Kingdom

Professor Lennox Hinds
Permanent Representative to the United Nations
for the International Association of Democratic Lawyers
United States of America/Trinidad

Professor Ronald Sullivan, Esquire
Criminal Justice Institute, Harvard Law School
United States of America

Professor P.L.O. Lumumba
Kenya

Tamika Mallory
Co-Founder, Until Freedom
United States of America

Angelo Pinto, Esquire
Co-Founder, Until Freedom
United States of America

Yetunde Asika, Esquire
International Human Rights Attorney
Nigeria

Professor Rosalea Hamilton Founding Director, Institute of Law and Economics Jamaica

Ukraine Urgent Appeal PDF