Considering recent developments, the Equinet Secretariat is horrified by Russian military action being waged on Ukraine, and the traumatic impact this is having on the civilian population. Europe and the international community need to ensure the protection and safety of all persons affected by this conflict, both those who cannot leave Ukraine, as well as those fleeing for their safety.
Racial profiling, or any other forms of discrimination – at the borders, in asylum applications or in daily life – cannot be tolerated. States should pay special attention to accommodating those that are in a particularly vulnerable situation owing to their racial or ethnic origin, gender, gender identity, age, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, health status, any other characteristic or a combination of these. We must extend international protection and support to all victims of the conflict.
Everyone remaining in Ukraine is facing war. Yet, as in any situation of crisis or conflict, certain marginalised groups may face disproportionate risk of abandonment, violence, death, and a lack of access to safety, relief, and recovery support. Women are at increased risk of sexual violence, children with disabilities are more exposed to abuse and neglect. Crucial information on safety and evacuation is often inaccessible, meaning that persons with disabilities are too often left behind. Humanitarian efforts should work to ensure their protection, and make sure no one is left behind.
Equinet believes in an equal Europe: where equality is a reality for everyone, diversity is valued, and all forms of discrimination have been eliminated. While national equality bodies across Europe are limited in how they can provide support in this conflict, we must all work to promote the value of equality and compassion, ensuring that every refugee is treated in a fair and compassionate way, without discrimination. Where possible, Equinet will continue to work with partners to ensure that equality and non-discrimination are respected and protected, also beyond European borders.