A group of African students evacuated from the Polish border with Ukraine by Black German groups arrive in Hamburg in early March 2022. Two years after, the Africans still face severe challenges of obtaining residency status, getting admission into higher institution, finding a language course and decent housing, accessing healthcare and dealing with racism in everyday life in Germany/Photo: TANG

Germany: Group accuses authorities of violating Black Ukrainian child’s human rights

The tubman.network e.V., an umbrella organisation of Black organisations in Germany dedicated to supporting people of African and Afro-diasporic origin who have fled Ukraine and other conflict-ridden regions, has issued a press release drawing attention to the fate of a Ukrainian child who is being denied vital medical care and also threatened with deportation to Nigeria.

“This stands in contradiction to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which Germany signed on April 5, 1992. This convention emphasises every child’s right to the highest attainable standard of health (Article 24) and protection from discrimination (Article 2),” tubman.network said.

“While Ukrainian citizens of white skin colour rightly enjoy protection and medical care in Germany, the example of the little boy makes it abundantly clear that some Ukrainians with black skin colour are still being racially disenfranchised,” the group said.

“The almost three-year-old boy, a Ukrainian citizen, fled the war-torn region with his parents in 2022 and sought refuge in Germany. He has since been denied family insurance, which has meant that two urgently needed operations that would significantly improve his ability to walk and hear – basic skills that he has not yet been able to fully develop due to his state of health – could not be carried out,” tubman.network explained.

“A number of medical experts have confirmed that the boy’s ability to learn to speak depends on his hearing, but the hospitals in Berlin have not classified his condition as urgent medical care, meaning he will have to continue to wait for surgery,” the statement read. “The pediatrician and neuropediatrician Dr. Akosua Sarpong-Bengelsdorf emphasizes the necessity of the soon-to-be ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgery to enable progress in his speech development. Without well-functioning hearing, he will be at risk of disability due to the speech developmental disorder.”

The Black solidarity and support group said the family’s troubles have further been compounded by a court decision. “Adding to the family’s distress, they have received a 14-page decision written by a judge from the administrative court in Berlin, justifying the decision for deportation issued in September 2023, despite the parents being highly qualified professionals,” tubman.network explained. “The boy’s father, a physicist in industrial automation, has received a job offer from a renowned company with an annual salary of 65,000 Euros, highlighting the contradiction in Germany’s stance on addressing skilled labour shortages,” the press release added

“The treatment of this young Ukrainian boy and his family is deeply concerning, shameful and highlights the unequal treatment of white and non-white persons seeking refuge,” said Amal Abbass, Executive Director of tubman.network e.V. and current Berlin Women’s Prize winner. “We urge the authorities to reconsider their decision as soon as possible and provide the family with the support and care they urgently need. There is no indication that the Council of the European Union’s decision, Section 24, cannot be applied to this child and his family. The UN Decade for People of African origin ends in December this year, but here we are – fighting for basic rights,” she added.

On 19 October 2023, the extension of temporary protection based on Directive 2011/95/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 on standards for the qualification of third-country nationals or stateless persons as beneficiaries of international protection was decided until 4 March 2025.  This provides a uniform status for refugees and persons eligible for subsidiary protection.

The family’s situation illustrates the institutional discrimination and challenges that people of African and Afro-diasporic origin still face in Germany, which were also highlighted in the FRA report “Being Black in the EU” published in 2023, tubman.network said. This particularly affects children, who are denied basic rights and services.

“tubman.network e.V. is firmly committed to the rights and support of these marginalised communities and calls on other organisations and individuals to actively join them,” the statement said.

For more information about the case of the little boy, please contact:

Dr. med. Robel Hailemariam
Tel.: +49 1628425137
Amal Abbass
Executive Director, tubman.network e.V.
Tel.: +49 172 3411638
Website: tubman.network

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