A physically challenged woman who was denied a seat on an Africa World Airlines flight has demanded compensation for discrimination and breach of contract.
Her lawyers say Rita Kriba who uses a walking aid suffered “grave embarrassment” after the airline declined to transport her from Accra to Kumasi on May 5, 2018.
They are demanding 200,000 cedis compensation for discrimination on the basis of her disability and an additional ¢10,000 for failing to fly her despite having a ticket.
They also want an apology published in the Daily Graphic
In default of these three demands, the lawyers say they have instructions from their client to proceed to court.
The discrimination incident was widely discussed on social media with some urging Rita, a Fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), to sue the local airline.
The company has defended the decision to deny her boarding and explained it required 48-hour notice whenever a client with disability issues wanted to use their aircraft. The company referenced the international general rule on the acceptance of Persons with Reduced Mobility(PRMs).”
But the woman who works at the Department of Social Welfare and also runs a NGO for disabled children is convinced her human rights have been violated.
Her lawyers from Atuguba & Associates say the airline officials were rude to their Client and embarrassed her publicly because she is physically challenged.
They are banking their claims for compensation on the legal guarantees stated in 1992 Constitution, the Persons with Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Find the full letter below
Thursday, 17th May, 2018.
THE MANAGING DIRECTOR
AFRICA WORLD AIRLINES
AIRPORT CITY,LIBERATION ROAD
PMB CT 67, CANTONMENT
DEMAND FOR COMPENSATION AND UNQUALIFIED APOLOGY FOR BREACH OF CONTRACT AND DISCRIMINATION
We act as Solicitors for Rita Kriba (our “Client”) and write to you upon her instructions. We have the firm instructions of our Client to bring to your attention the following facts:
On Friday, 4th May, 2018, our Client’s agent booked an Africa World Airline ticket for her. The flight (AW-104) was to depart on Saturday, the 5th of May, 2018 at 9.00am from Accra to Kumasi.
On Saturday, 5th May, 2018, our Client, who walks with the aid of crutches, arrived at the airport at about 6.00am.
Upon arrival at the airport, our Client’s passport was checked and when asked if she could board unassisted, she answered in the affirmative. While waiting to board the flight, some of her friends who were scheduled to board the same flight with her arrived at the airport.
To our Client’s dismay however, she was prevented from boarding the flight because she is physically challenged.
Despite our Client’s insistence to officials of your airline that she is capable of boarding on her own, she was prevented from boarding the said flight.
Further, officials of your airline refused to allow our Client board the flight even though our Client’s friends had offered to assist her. Our Client’s friends even explored the option of parcelling her crutches and having same placed with the cargo, while they carry our Client to the flight but that plea was flatly refused by the airline officials.
In fact, the airline officials were rude to our Client and embarrassed her publicly because she is physically challenged.
Subsequently, our Client’s agent was called to explain the circumstances to officials of your airline, whereupon the said airline officials refused to speak to our client’s agent.
Flowing from the above and our investigations, we wish to notify you and consider notice as given in respect of the following:
We have discovered material breaches of provisions of the 1992 Constitution, the Persons with Disability Act, 2006 (Act 715) and a host of International Conventions and Protocols to wit the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR);
Africa World Airlines is liable for breach of contract to safely transit our Client from Accra to Kumasi for a business meeting;
Africa World Airlines is liable for discriminating against our Client and causing her grave public embarrassment and infringing her dignity because she is physically challenged; and
We are ready to contest each and every one of these breaches as same relate to our Client.
Our Client hereby instructs us to demand the following from you, (which we hereby demand):
Payment of the sum of Ten Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC 10,000) as compensation for the breach of contract to transit our Client from Accra to Kumasi.
Payment of Two Hundred Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC 200,000) as compensation for discriminating against our Client on account of her disability and violation of our Client’s fundamental human rights, to wit her dignity.
An unqualified apology to our client and all persons living with disability to be printed prominently in the Daily Graphic.
We wish to advise, and advice is hereby given, that should you, within seven days (7) of receipt of this letter, fail to commit, unequivocally, to meeting the above demands, we shall proceed and resort to other lawful processes or avenues to vindicate the rights of our Client without further recourse to you.
Finally, in the event that notice is required for the institution of any legal or other proceedings against you or any recipient of this letter, this letter shall constitute such notice.
Be accordingly advised.
Harold Tivah Atuguba
Solicitors Licence No. GAR 15105/18
ATUGUBA AND ASSOCIATES
LAWYERS & NOTARIES
Solicitors for Rita Kriba