This seems to me a flagrant violation of the human rights and equality acts. I mean at least if it is giving preferential treatment to Ukrainian rather than say Syrian refugees.

If I’m not mistaken isn’t nationality among the most ubiquitous of protected characteristics among anti discrimination legislation?

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    – Dale M
    May 5, 2022 at 2:37

2 Answers 2



Section 158 of the Equality Act 2010 allows "proportionate means" to "overcome or minimise ... disadvantage".

This is why charitable acts targeted at a particular nationality, race, gender etc. are not unlawful.

  • Not quite. Charities instead typically rely on Section 193 which is wider in scope due to the fact that the 193(2)(b) limb removes the need for proportionality. This answer is correct to point out Section 158 which I missed in mine. However, the conclusion ("No") is not foregone. Unlike charities, a person relying on Section 158 must pass the proportionality test. It's not a blank cheque for positive discrimination. But it's definitely an exception which needs to be considered. You'd get my upvote if your answer accounts for this.
    – JBentley
    May 5, 2022 at 3:27
  • Not only that, but surely then it would need to be applied equally to Yemeni war refugees, or Syrian? May 5, 2022 at 4:44
  • 2
    Not a lawyer but the 'lifetime' part looks like a clear violation of the 'proportionate means'. Making the same offer for a limited time frame with the option to extend it if the situation makes this appropriate would have the same effect.
    – quarague
    May 5, 2022 at 7:35
  • Yes agreed quarage however apparently section 193 mitigates that according to @JBentley. May 5, 2022 at 10:36
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    @JosephP. No, because Section 193 only applies to charities.
    – JBentley
    May 5, 2022 at 12:00

Humanitarian aid need not be equally available for everyone else (not involved into particular crisis for that the aid is focused). "Needs humanitarian aid" is not a protected category.

"Ukrainians" in this context are not a race or nationality but rather subject of humanitarian emergency. Companies often engage in humanitarian aid and support in response to crises. These actions are typically not viewed as unlawful discrimination but rather as targeted support during humanitarian emergencies. Historically after hurricanes, earthquakes, or floods, companies like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile have provided free call, text, and data services to those in affected areas, but not everywhere else and for everyone.

Vodafone will offer free connectivity to 200,000 refugees arriving in the UK from Ukraine through its charities.connected initiative.

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