Sent out by Just Peace Advocates on behalf of the Canadian Institute for Foreign Policy
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Remove racist Africa only travel ban, says Ugandan-born director of Canadian Foreign Policy Institute
December 17, 2021
MONTREAL, Quebec — The Canadian Foreign Policy Institute has launched an email campaign calling on the Liberals to “Remove racist travel ban and support a Covid patent waiver”. In CBC’s Opinion section today CFPI Director Bianca Mugyenyi argues “Canada’s COVID policies in Africa reflect a long, troubling history” while in Rabble she writes on how “Canada’s Africa-only travel ban reveals the racism shaping Canada’s international policy”.
“It’s racist to only ban travel from African countries”, said Mugyenyi. “A number of European countries have more confirmed cases of the Omicron variant but they aren’t on Canada’s no-fly list.”
The NDP foreign affairs critic, president of the African Community Association of Calgary and chair of the Black Scientists’ Task Force on Vaccine Equity have all labelled Canada’s anti-African COVID-19 measures racist. World Health Organization officials and governments around the world have also portrayed Canada’s moves as discriminatory. Nigeria has responded by banning travel from Canada.
“Looking at a map demonstrates the absurdity of the Africa-only travel ban”, said Mugyenyi. “While Nigeria is on Canada’s travel ban list, Lagos is actually closer to St. John’s Newfoundland than it is to Johannesburg, South Africa. Similarly, Egypt is on Canada’s no-fly list, but Cairo is closer to Montréal than it is to Cape Town.”
Instead of discriminating against Africans the Liberals should support a WTO patent waiver for Covid vaccines. But, they’ve worked against a year-old South African and Indian proposal designed to speed up vaccinations in poorer countries. Recently a group of vaccine experts released a list of over 100 companies in Africa, Asia and Latin America capable of producing mRNA vaccines. Last Sunday Bolivia’s vice-minister of Foreign Trade and Integration, Benjamin Blanco, once again criticized Canada’s refusal to okay a deal that country has signed with Ontario’s Biolyse Pharma to produce and export COVID-19 vaccines without the patent holder’s permission.
“The Liberals Africa-only travel ban reflects a painful history of Canadian racism towards the continent”, concluded Mugyenyi.
For more information:
Bianca Mugyenyi, Director Canadian Foreign Policy Institute