‘COVID-19 has heightened racial discrimination against African migrants’
It has been observed, rather painfully, that one of the darkest spots of COVID-19 is the heightening of racial discrimination against African migrants in Europe and Asia.
Ms Naomi Borley Alabi, President-of-Elect of Amnesty International, University of Portsmouth Chapter, who made the observation, added that other fundamental rights and freedoms, including freedom of movement, are equally being trampled upon.
Ms Alabi cited the sad spectacle of a 24-year-old African migrant in China, who was compelled to sleep under a bridge with no food four days because no restaurant or store was willing to sell to him due to his black colour.
She made these revelations on Friday, May 8, in a COVID-19 Assessment Webinar, which was themed: Studying Outside Your Home Country—Current Situation and Stories from lived experience. The webinar featured other contributors that included Dr. Felix Kwabena Donkor, a Ghanaian researcher based in South Africa; Guiseppe Lipari, who is based in Brussels; Grace Mageka, a Kenyan of Rome University; and Laud McMensah of Global Union of Ghanaian Scholars.
Ms Alabi, who is also a Social Media Strategist, Publicist and Content Creator at Laweh University College, Ghana, therefore made a passionate appeal to the Diplomatic Community in Europe and Asia to rise up and protect the rights of their nationals in those countries. She stressed that African missions should go beyond the issuing of visas, registering their nationals and of marriages to protecting the fundamental human rights.
Ms Alabi denounced the colonial mindset of the former colonialists as being superior to their ex-colonised countries and how this has played up in the COVID-19 pandemic. She noted that the downplaying by western countries of warnings of Corona virus from Asian countries; and the suggestion by some doctors in France that a so-called COVID-19 vaccine would be first tested on Africans are clear manifestations of this colonial mentality.
Laud McMensah called on African migrant students to organise themselves into associations so that they could easily attract support. According to him, it was easier for Ghanaian students in China to obtain support from their home government because they had an association.
Grace Mageka lamented delays in the release of monies due students by her university while Giuseppe Lipari regretted the curtailment of their personal freedom and support systems, especially those related to students.
Dr Felix Donkor identified submitting online assignments on time as a challenge. He called on students to develop a sense of community to help each other.
Ms Naomi Borley Alabi