Statement from Fizza Qureshi, CEO of MRN:
” Over the past few months, European countries have been embracing Ukrainian refugees, who are being welcomed and warmly received. Mainland European governments have significantly relaxed entry requirements to enable Ukrainians to cross borders as speedily as possible, which is unarguably the correct way to respond to this conflict (and any conflict). Seeing the relaxation of requirements has also shone a light on the racist and vastly differential treatment faced by refugees of colour, who are being discriminated against and treated as less deserving than their white counterparts.
After our conversation with a member of the Russian diaspora living in the UK, we have been made aware of another category of people who are in need of our support. Both Russians and Russian-speaking people in the UK are already experiencing discrimination, and are being subjected to verbal attacks. This Russophobia targets people simply because of their ethnicity or language.
Those Russians in Russia who feel uncomfortable (to put it mildly) with their government’s actions, and who have either openly participated in the protests, expressed their dissent or criticism in various ways, or simply disagree without being particularly vocal (in the light of the recent very harsh laws whereby dissent may result in a hefty custodial sentence), are also at great risk. Reports have surfaced indicating that visa applications for Russian citizens seeking entry into the UK are being considerably delayed (if not stalled), even for those who have relatives here. Those who wish to leave the country are effectively denied any kind of refuge.
It would be only fair for a democratic society, such as our country, to open its arms to everyone who needs a place of safety during these difficult and tragic times, and that should also include Russians fleeing.”
Click here to read more of April’s newsletter including: the new mental health guide, our #WordsMatter campaign, upcoming events, and recent sector vacancies. And do keep an eye on our Twitter feed (@migrants_rights) for all the latest developments.