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Why aren’t all war refugees treated like those from Ukraine?

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KGW8, March 2022

The humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ukraine has struck a chord worldwide. Coordinated efforts to provide aid and support to fleeing Ukrainian refugees went into effect almost immediately. It’s an outpouring of needed support, but also raises the question: why aren’t all war refugees treated this way?

Serena Parekh, a professor at Northeastern University in Boston, studies global responses to refugees. She said watching the response in Ukraine highlights key differences in the way some people are treated. “What is very different and new about this crisis is the tremendous amount of sympathy and solidarity Western countries have expressed, which we have not seen with Middle Eastern refugees,” Parekh said. Parekh studies ethics and the global refugee crisis. “There are widespread documented reports of [Afghan] refugees being pepper-sprayed, beaten,” said Parekh. “And to be clear, this isn’t in the past. This is happening at the same time that Poland is welcoming refugees from Ukraine.”

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