Pakistanis, Indians are bullied by ‘racist’ Romanian officials at Bucharest airport
Bucharest: Romanian authorities have been accused of bullying Pakistanis and Indians at Bucharest airport.
People with with dark and brown skin are held hostage at the detention center and discriminate against ove their skin color and nationalties.
A Pakistani origin YouTuber and influencer has shared horrowing details of the treatment meted out to him and his partner at the Bucharest airport.
Jaffar Abbas also witnessed racist profiling of Indians and dark skinned people from other countries.
He said that he and his partner were humiliated by the Romanian Border Control despite fulfilling all the requirements to visit Romania.
Below is the complete story Jaffar Abbas shared in a long Twitter thread before advising Asians to avoid visiting Romania:
As I’m boarding my flight from Bucharest and leaving Romania, I finally feel safe to share the most harrowing and racist experience inflicted on me by the Romanian Border Control.
Context: For a summer trip, me and my partner had planned a trip from Germany to Bulgaria & Romania.
We have Pakistani passports, with residence permits of Germany and Netherlands. This isn’t our first trip, as we’ve visited 18 countries till date. We had all of our hotels booked, our return flight scheduled from Bucharest, and faced no trouble when entering Bulgaria or Leaving it, Romania however, we landed at Bucharest Airport from Sofia, and we’re initially in different lines so we get through quickly. The lady at the desk asked for my documents, I gave them. Easy, right? She then asked me, “why are you coming to Bucharest?”, Standard questions. I shared my responses.
She asked for my hotel booking and return flight. I provided. She started asking me about Romania, and why I chose it for tourism. while tossing my passport to her colleague so I told her ‘the parliament building’, ‘bran castle’? And then she asked me trivia questions about it?
So at this point I’m feeling weirded out, because it looks like she doesn’t trust me. Meanwhile, everyone next to us is just passing through quickly. I told her I’m travelling with my partner.
For context, I’m brown skinned, my partner can pass as ‘white’, the lady stared at her.
Asked for her documents, and then even said, how are you Pakistani? Because apparently a white person can’t be Pakistani. She then waited for everyone from our flight to pass through, and then said “this is your first time in Romania, we will do more checks”, and escorted us away.
I felt uneasy because something seemed off, there was literally an old lady on the same flight who told us she was Pakistani, but now a US citizen, and told us how she hadn’t booked any hotels. But, She went through easily, yet we were grilled on our bookings and our intent?
So as I’m feeling uneasy, we’re taken to a section near the border control called a ‘detention centre’, and guess the skin color of everyone else who’s there. Brown. Dark. Nepalis, Indians, east asians. as we entered, an old man who was leaving told us he waited 3 hours here.
Sure enough, that happened with us as well. We waited 3-4 hours. They first came and kept on asking us about why were coming. Why Romania. Why we’re in Europe not Pakistan. Even mocking us. They took me to a separate room, patted me down, opened my bags and went through my belongings.
They kept on asking, “are you sure you’re not hiding anything”. I was surrounded by 8 officers, all joking around, opening my documents, my cards. Opening my camera, asking for my YT channel as proof of it. One guy even took my Pakistani license and called it fake?
After half an hour, when they couldn’t find anything, they just took my license and said, this is fake and illegal, and then left me to pack up my things. I left the room, and sat next to my partner when a guy came back, screamed at me to sit away from her, saying I’m not allowed.
Now, I’m sitting away from her. Not allowed to even talk to her. When they come again and escort my partner to the room. She said they did the same things with her, trying to find reasons to bully her. Doubted her. She even heard them saying, “search her more, she’s Pakistani”
We had even told them we had a friend in Bucharest who’ll show us around, they even said – prove it. Show us her number. We did, but they didn’t even try to contact and verify. Which to be honest, is bullshit. We didn’t have to prove anything, everything was in order.
Now the guy who took my license, yes he hadn’t returned it, came back with a document and said “sign it”, It was all in Romanian. I asked to translate it with my phone. He mimics/mocks me, but let’s me. Then he hands me back my license after I sign, saying “I know it’s fake”.
After this, they even let me sit next to my partner, and while I’m moving my bag and coming to her, I see them all laughing at us, and saying “awww”, “kiss! Hug”, treating us like fucking zoo animals, here for their entertainment.
By this time, it’s been almost three hours. We’ve had 5-6 people come and ask us the same story over and over. I’ve shown my return flight, my hotels, my plans over and over. Then finally a new 7th guy came, noted everything down. Gave us our passports and then said, you can go.
After this, one of the them said “come again”, with a cruel smile. It’s like they gained satisfaction from this. By making us feel like criminals. As we were finally exiting, we overhear then say, “they’re Pakistani” when a colleague asked them why we were kept for so long.
This isn’t even a one-off incident, the same thing happened to a friend of mine who was Pakistani, and had a layover in Bucharest from Lisbon to Istanbul. You’ll find accounts of this systemically racist profiling all over the internet, by the Bucharest Border Control.
It probably feels like nothing to you, who’s reading this. But I felt like a criminal, I started hating myself, all for the color of my skin. I was discriminated against because of my identity and nationality. And all the others around us, they went through the same.
This felt inherently racist. The proof being the existence of a detention (read: discrimination) centre built just for brown people at the airport.
Sure illegal migration is an issue, but we had visas, bookings, everything. We were just toyed with because of our skin color.
This whole ordeal left a sour taste in my mouth. I was humiliated, profiled by my skin and just straight up bullied. This needs to change. Until it does, if your skin isn’t white and you want to keep your self-respect intact, I wouldn’t recommend coming to Romania.”