Refugee Digest 64: Refugees, Migrants and Displaced Persons by Peter-John Pearson
Issues involving foreign nationals ranging from the sharp rise in xenophobia to the ongoing contestation around Zimbabwe Exemption Permits (ZEP), the ‘quota system’ in employment for foreign nationals, and the failure to physically re-open services for mobile communities at The Department of Home Affairs (especially the Refugee Reception Offices, RROs), all contribute to a growing anxiety amongst mobile people and a sense of exclusion in policy issues. On the international scene, the number of Ukrainians fleeing their country after the invasion by Russia, was estimated to be about 500 000 in the first five days alone. It is now many millions. It is interesting to note how tragedies of such magnitude as this war also reveal some of the insidious contradictions in those societies. One such example has been the steadfast refusal by some of the neighbouring countries to the Ukraine to welcome refugees in the past, especially those from the places like Syria, contrasting with the warm embrace of the Ukrainian refugees and the implicitly racist reasons given for this change of mind. It is also sad to note that racism has also been a part of the experience of the exodus from Ukraine, such as black people not being allowed to board trains to exit the country, or having to wait to board only once everyone else was on board.