By Mohammed Suleman

The aviation industry in the country is being accused of discrimination against Persons With Disability(PWDs) contrary to provisions in Ghana’s Disability Act.

Africa World AirlineSection 28(1) 2006( Act 715) states:?The Civil Aviation Authority and any other authority responsible for the management of a port shall provide facilities that will aid the movement of a person with disability at the port.?

This provision, according to SEND- Ghana, a civil society organisation, the Ghana Federation of the Disabled and the West Africa Civil Society Institute, is being violated with impunity by the aviation sector in the country.
According to the Chief Executive Officer of SEND- West Africa, Mr Sipha Kamara, said on Tuesday 2nd June, an intern of SEND-Ghana travelled on Arik Air from Nigeria to Ghana.

Kamara said on her arrival, his outfit purchased a ticket from Africa World Airline(AWA) for her to travel from Accra to Tamale.
But to her surprise, she was denied her right to board the Aircraft because of her disability with the explanation that AWA’s rules regulations did not permit them to take on board PWDs particularly those who were Wheel- Chair bound.

Though she pleaded with them to allow her to board the Aircraft they refused. The move, Mr Kamara, said was an affront to the Disability Act and therefore was in violation of fundamental human right.
?We are therefore calling on stakeholders of air transport which include Ghana Civil Aviation authority, Ministry of Transport and the Office of the President to put in place measures to uphold the implementation of the Disability Act in this regard.?

Mr Kamara drew the attention of AWA and other domestic airlines to the fact that Ghana is a member of the United Nations, Africa Union and the Economic Community of West Africa States, hence the country had affirmed its commitment to uphold human rights and in particular the right of persons to travel to these international bodies.

?Therefore the action of AWA refusing Ndifreke Andrew-Essien to travel is not only a violation a disability Act of Ghana but also contrary to Ghana’s commitment to various international convention on human rights.
? We are therefore calling on the domestic airline industry, the Ministry of Transport and office of the President to take immediate measures to ensure that PWDs in Ghana and those who come to visit Ghana do not suffer such blatant disregard for laws of the land?

He indicated that SEND-Ghana and its allies would continue to support the Ghana Federation of the Disabled to ensure that cogent steps were taken to allow PWDs their right to travel on any domestic airline unimpeded.

? Remember that disability is not inability is not inability.PWDs are citizens of Ghana and deserve to be treated like every citizen.?

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