Echoes of Colour Discrimination in Refugee Protection Regime: The Experience of Africans Fleeing the Russia-Ukrainian War




Colour, Discrimination, UNHCR Refugee Convention, Russia-Ukrainian War, Asylum


After 71 years of commitment to the principles of the Refugee Convention and an obligation to protection; the international system faces challenges as socio-political, economic and security concerns become alibis that betray fidelity to the treaty and are manifest in discrimination and expulsions of asylum-seekers, migrants and refugees. Our paper examines this collapse and highlights themes of covert colour politics and discrimination vis-a-vis the Russia-Ukrainian war. Our methodology combines interviews, narratives and critical analyses as we document the ugly experiences of Africans fleeing the war zone and the denials of protection they face based on their skin colour. Our discussion raises concerns that cannot be ignored as conflicts escalate globally. Rather than embracing the hardline hostility confronting migrants and refugees, we argue for a reappraisal of the movers and their status not as a migration problem to be solved but as victims of a faulty international system that deserve attention.


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Author Biographies

Olumide Oyewole Oyebade

Department of Philosophy, University of Lagos, Nigeria

+234 803 393 3069

Jeffrey H. Cohen, Department of Anthropology

Jeffrey H. Cohen is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the Ohio State University. His books include Cooperation and Community: Economy and Society in Oaxaca, The Culture of Migration in Southern Mexico, and Economic Development: An Anthropological Approach. Dr. Cohen's research focuses on three areas: migration, development and nutrition. Since the early 1990s he as studied the impact, structure and outcome of migration from indigenous communities in Oaxaca, Mexico to the US with support from the National Science Foundation. He has also conducted comparative research on Mexican, Dominican and Turkish migration. His work on traditional foods, nutrition and migration was supported by the National Geographic Society. In addition to ongoing work in Oaxaca, he is currently studying the migration of Mexicans to Columbus. Dr. Cohen's cv.pdf See more at: Jeffrey Cohen at OSU cohen.319?aspect=p&width=300&

David Okechukwu Abraham

National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (SNSPA)

+40 764 505 900




How to Cite

Oyebamiji, S. I., OYEBADE, O. O. ., Cohen, J. H., & Abraham, . D. O. (2022). Echoes of Colour Discrimination in Refugee Protection Regime: The Experience of Africans Fleeing the Russia-Ukrainian War. Migration Letters, 19(5), 695 –.




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