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"Disguised racism": African health chief explains why he was abused at Frankfurt airport

Kenyan Ahmed Ogwell, acting director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who was on his way to attend the opening of the World Health Summit on Sunday in Berlin, said his participation in the he event had been questioned after a meeting with immigration officials at Frankfurt airport.

People at the Airport
Photo Credit: Unsplash

“I was mistreated at Frankfurt airport by immigration staff who think I want to stay illegally. My presence at the World Health Summit is now in doubt. I am happier and safer at home in Africa. They invite you over and then mistreat you,” he tweeted.

World Health Organization director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for equal respect for all summit attendees.

“It is absolutely essential that all World Health Summit participants from Africa and all other countries are treated with respect,” he tweeted.

Rwandan Jean-Philbert Nsengimana, Africa CDC's chief digital adviser, described the situation as unacceptable.

“This racism disguised as border protection or policing must end. It is high time that the issue of mistreatment of Africans at overseas airports be addressed through diplomatic channels,” he told to Africa Times.

Alimatu Dimonekene, a women's rights activist from Sierra Leone, noted that a similar incident occurred with Ugandan Winnie Byanyima, director of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), during a trip to Geneva in July.

At the EU borders, non-EU people are facing from time to time similar abuse of power by officials.

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