3 Nigerian students denied visit to Korea

August 4, 2014

Duksung University cancels invitations amid Ebola fear


At Incheon International airport, quarantine inspections of passengers arriving have been enhanced. (Yonhap)

By Jung Min-ho

As fear of Ebola continues to spread, Duksung Women’s University decided to cancel invitations of a number of guests who were due to arrive from West Africa, where more than 700 people have died from the disease, ahead of its conference, a source said Sunday.

Three students from Nigeria, a country in the region were scheduled to attend the World Congress of Global Partnership for Young Women from Aug. 4 to 15 at the university, hosted in conjunction with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women).

“The school announced that it canceled all invitations issued to three students from Nigeria. Also, students from countries in other parts of Africa will have to undergo additional health inspections before participating in the event,” the student president of Duksung told The Korea Times.

Under the theme of “Serving Together: Education for Empowerment of Women,” the school invited female leaders and 500 college students from 32 countries, including 8 countries in Africa.

However, since the reported outbreak of the Ebola virus, Duksung students and many others have expressed concerns. The virus has already claimed 700 lives in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria.

“The invited students will stay in the school dormitories for about 10 days,” a Duksung student noted at the school’s online bulletin board. “Many students, who applied for voluntary work for the event, cancelled it and are now protesting against it.”

As part of their program, the participants are scheduled to tour across Seoul.

Over 15,000 people signed an online petition against the “dangerous” invitations since Saturday before it was taken down Sunday at Daum, Korea’s search engine.

Yet the event will be held as planned, and many are still concerned about it.

“Since it is a cooperative event with the UN Women, we cannot cancel the invitations of all students from Africa or the whole conference,” said an official from the school. “We are in talks with Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about how to deal with the potential problem.”

At Incheon International airport, quarantine inspections of passengers arriving have been enhanced.

The government has been stepping up monitoring of its citizens returning from trips to West Africa and other areas affected by the deadly Ebola virus that is fast spreading there, the Prime Minister’s Office said Monday.

A total of 21 citizens have been tested on suspicions of being infected with Ebola. Thirteen of them were confirmed safe, while the other eight people are under monitoring, the office noted.

The government is also keeping a close eye on travelers returning from trips to affected West African countries, including Guinea, it added.