By LAMIN JAITEH
Thousands marched through central London to mark UN Anti-Racism Day, and to express support for refugees.
Anti-racism campaigners have called for an end to ‘selective’ empathy, as the UK government rolls out support schemes for Ukrainian refugees.
‘No to racism’ campaigners made the demand at rallies in London and other cities on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
The UK has issued 4000 visas for Ukrainians with family in Britain under the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme. And anyone with a spare room is being offered £350 a month to house those without family in the United Kingdom.
Campaigners say this level of generosity has not been offered to refugees from elsewhere, for instance.
British politician and community activist, Lee Jasper said: “A British media that has a tradition of being hostile to immigrants. All of a sudden, has done a 360 degrees turnaround, because of white people in Ukraine.
“Yes, we should have empathy but that empathy should not stop when a person’s colour is brown or black.”
Meanwhile, the government is pushing through the controversial nationality and borders bill, that could see refugees arriving via routes like the English Channel, get up to four years in prison.
Sarah Rackham, English Language teacher at Kathrine Low Settlement (KLS) centre in Battersea, South London said: “The way the Ukrainian refugees are welcomed and treated is entirely different from the refugee communities we got here.
“We’ve got families trying to get their relatives out of Afghanistan. They’ve been promised they could come.
“But we have one Afghani family – just one in the whole Borough of Wandsworth. It’s just completely unequal, and it’s completely racist.”