Our attention has been drawn to the unfair treatment by the Africa World Airline Limited (AWA) of Ms. Rita Kriba who bought a ticket on the said airline for a trip to Kumasi on Saturday 5th May but was denied entry to the airline because her crutches were considered to be inconvenient to the Airline.
The CSO Platform on SDGs considers the treatment of Ms. Kriba by the staff of AWA as unjustifiable, discriminatory and condemnable. Persons with disability are human beings just like every other abled bodied persons living in Ghana and are entitled to the enjoyment of their fundamental rights which includes the right to equal treatment and non-discrimination.
The CSO Platform would like to draw AWA’s attention and the attention of the public to the provisions of the Disability Act, Act 715 which states under Article 7 that ‘A person who provides service to the public shall put in place the necessary facilities that make the service available and accessible to a person with disability’.
The Act goes further to state under Article 8 that whoever contravenes the provisions of this section commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty penalty units or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding three months or to both.
As a disabled person, Ms. Kriba should have been provided with the necessary facilities to enable her travel to Kumasi on a flight which she paid for. Assuming without conceding that she did not notify the airline of her disability as required by the International Aviation Standards, the staff of AWA should have clearly communicated this requirement to her prior to check-in rather than ask her to wait, only to be informed later during boarding that she ‘can’t send her crutches inside the plane’
Ghana is championing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which envisions that ‘no one is left behind’ in the country’s efforts to achieve socio economic development; this singular act of discrimination by the staff of AWA represents the many difficulties that disabled persons go through in Ghana in their attempt to access public places, which is contrary to the Spirit and Letter of the SDGs and Act 715.
The CSOs Platform wishes to call on AWA to immediately refund to Ms. Rita the airfare she paid for the flight that she was not allowed to board.
We also wish to call on AWA and other airlines in Ghana to take steps to ensure that this requirement is included in all ticketing policies and carry out public education especially for those needing special assistance and facilities in order to avoid a re-occurrence.
ISSUED BY THE CIVIL SOCIETY PLATFORM ON SDGs, MAY 14TH 2018