This year, the Quarterly will pivot towards migration and xenophobia. We will focus on a different region of the world in each edition, with the first being on Europe. Migration is not new but is one of the key phenomena of our times. Hostility towards migrants has been on the increase and adversely affects someone’s health. Migrants may be denied their rights, directly targeted or put in harm’s way. And then in response, they are denied access to healthcare and other services. While many aspects are common amongst all migrants, groups who are already minoritised – usually people of colour – face many more barriers. The issues are numerous: the charging for services in the otherwise ‘free’ NHS in the UK, offshore detention camps in Nauru, the denial of rights of Muslim migrants in India, disease-based profiling at several borders, and now barriers (and scapegoating) of migrants as carriers and causes of COVID-19 outbreaks. This is fuelled by populist rhetoric that results in actual harm to migrants.
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A note on the war in Ukraine:
This February, Race & Health generated work around racism and xenophobia in Europe. Our articles were compiled and published prior to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, so we would now like to take a moment to stand in solidarity with Ukraine by drawing explicit connections to racism, xenophobia, health, and the refugee experience produced by the current colonial situation.
Not only have racial minorities encountered variable treatment at the borders of nations inviting refugees, but many have also been denied entry and assistance. It is no coincidence that these refugees hold citizenship from countries in Africa and the Caribbean: This is racism. This how racism disproportionately organises and prioritises the lives of racially and ethnically privileged groups, and it won't be the only instance of racism in the context of this violence. As the conflict progresses, people will need sustained assistance: food, homes, healthcare, and finances.
In this context, we have already seen a difference in treatment towards racial minorities’ safety. As such, we will need to practice vigilance in the coming phases of aid: is aid being distributed equitably? Who is being left out? How does systems of power, such as racism and xenophobia, define the groups being excluded?
Finally, as you sift through developing media, we hope that you read with a critical eye, and a sharpened attention to how policy, narrative, and privilege interact with colonialism.
In this Quarterly
Commentary: Doctors of the World and Hands Up For Health
Guest Comment: Discrimination, Racism, and the Wellbeing of People on the Move
Person Spotlight: Latifa Akay, Radical Approaches to Safeguarding
Person Spotlight: Maya Goodfellow on the hostile environment