An Angolan family had been stranded for 60 days in Incheon Airport's transit zone as of Monday, and that stay at the airport is likely to be protracted as late as May, prompting human rights activists to call for action.
Nkuka Lulendo, his wife and four children aged under 10 arrived to South Korea on a tourist visa on Dec 28. They have been staying at the transit zone, fighting the immigration office's decision to refuse their entry.
Upon arrival, the family legally requested from the government for a chance to apply for refugee status here, but they were denied on the basis the Angolans had no "clear" reason to seek asylum.
"We cannot accept how the (Justice) Ministry came to conclude there is no clear reason for the Lulendos to claim asylum in Korea," said the family's legal representative Lee Sang-hyun from Duroo Association for Public Interest Law.
The family barely gets three meals a day due to a lack of money, and must wash in the airport's restrooms and sleep within its confines as well, with their health not in good condition, he added.
"We are living in conditions that we have never experienced before. Our children are shivering due to winter chills they have never gone through. We are also human beings," the family said in a letter revealed by an association of 15 human rights groups. "Please help us to get out of this life at the airport."