Chinese envoy to UN calls for attention to problems faced by African, Mid-East evacuees in Ukraine crisis
Published: Mar 18, 2022 10:11 AM
Zhang Jun, China's Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) Photo: CFP

Zhang Jun, China's Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) Photo: CFP

All refugees, no matter their race, region or ethnicity, should be protected, and the problems that some African and Mideast refugees encountered while evacuating from Ukraine should be paid attention to and properly handled, Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, stressed at a UN Security Council meeting on refugee issues of the Ukraine crisis on Thursday. 

Zhang noted that China is deeply concerned about the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Ukraine and grieves about the increasing number of casualties of civilians and refugees. It is urgent to call for all parties to show restraint and protect the security and basic human rights of civilians, especially women and children, to avoid a larger humanitarian crisis. 

People of color like Africans, Indians and Arabs, who have lived in Ukraine and were trying to flee the war, seemed to have been treated unfairly by the West, and hints of white supremacy and racism have drawn attention and criticism. 

Some black people posted their experiences of being treated in a hierarchical way while evacuating - Ukrainians first, Indians second, and Africans last, and together with some people from Mideast countries, they complained of being threatened and even beaten. However, their plight has not received much attention from Western media. 

Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, a British Nigerian lawyer and political commentator, told the Global Times in a previous interview that what has persisted throughout the current turmoil in Ukraine and will further lead to the misery of the non-white population is that some Westerners believe that some people are superior to others purely because of the color of their skin. 

"This is why, in a deep humanitarian crisis, racism can still show its ugliness, because those who are meant to be helping and serving to get people out safely have a racist mindset," she said.  

China supports all parties to maintain communication to keep humanitarian corridors open and safe and offer convenience to humanitarian assistance and evacuation, Zhang said, noting that China supports the Department of Humanitarian Affairs of the UN, the UN Refugee Agency, World Health Organization, and other organizations to take action and mobilize the international community to offer humanitarian assistance. 

China has offered three batches of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, including milk powder and quilts, and helped the Ukrainian Red Cross rescue homeless children. 

Zhang noted that China hopes the UN Security Council can stay united on humanitarian issues. The international community also hopes a ceasefire can be reached as soon as possible to ease the current situation and avoid civilian casualties. China will carry on promoting peace talks. 

Practice has proven that relying on sanctions cannot solve problems but will create more problems. Against the backdrop of the slack global economic recovery, sanctions will only violate the stability of the global supply chain, worsen the food and energy crisis, harm people's livelihood, especially those in developing countries, and cause new humanitarian consequences. This is also the problem that the UN Security Council should pay attention to when dealing with the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, Zhang said. 

Global Times