Maltreatment of Africans by European Airlines Must Stop! sign now

From: CONCERNED AFRICANS & FRIENDS OF AFRICA
October 1, 2006

TO: United Nations (UN), Organization of African Unity (OAU), Organization of American States (OAS), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and the European Union (EU)

CC: Lufthansa, Alitalia, British Airways, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Air France, and Swissair

CC: Kweisi Mfume, President NAACP; Rev. Jessie Jackson, Rainbow/Push Coalition; Kofi Annan, Secretary General, UN; Randal Robinson, Founder of TransAfrica; Ambassador Andrew Young; Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State, US Government, Oprah Winfrey

CC: All African Governments: The Governments of Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Cote D'ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

A PETITION

Maltreatment of Africans by European Airlines Must Stop!

Considering the exorbitant air fares being charged on African routes by European Airlines;

Considering the poor services given to Africans and the rudeness of most staff of European Airlines to Africans;

Considering that mosquito and other insect killing chemicals are being sprayed in the passenger areas of these European airplanes right before leaving Africa for Europe;

Considering that much older planes are being used for African routes;

Considering that flights to and from Africa are generally overbooked; and

Considering the unwarranted and humiliating searching of African passengers by Customs officials at the airports in Europe, we, the signatories, therefore:

Call upon the United Nations, Organization of African Unity, Organization of American States, International Civil Aviation Organization, Federal Aviation Administration, and the European Union to investigate maltreatment of Africans by the European airlines and ask, without further delay, European airlines to:

Lower the exorbitant air fares being charged to Africans;
Improve the quality of their services to Africans, e.g., the quality of the meals;

Use newer planes (which are comparable to those used in Trans-Atlantic flights) to transport Africans to and from Europe and America;

Stop spraying mosquito and other insect killing chemicals WHILE African passengers are seated in these flights;

Stop overbooking of Africans to Europe/North America; and finally, Search Africans with dignity, respect and decorum, and generally apply the universal standard of treating all customers as equals.

We condemn strongly the apparent injustice to Africans, and in support of our petition, submit that:

1. For so long, European airlines, specifically, Lufthansa, Alitalia, British Airways, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Air France, and Swissair have continuously charged Africans exorbitant fares. Compare, for instance, the following standard round trip fares from the US to Africa and from the US to Asia (21-day advance purchase, Source: Yahoo Travel, January 23, 2002).

US to AFRICA US to ASIA
Houston, US to Ghana = $1,570 Houston, US to Beijing, China = $649
Houston, US to Nigeria = $1,539 Houston, US to Tokyo, Japan = $608
Houston, US to Kenya = $1,813 Houston, US to Korea = $658
Houston, US to Tanzania = $1,929 Houston, US to Philippines = $715

It is noteworthy that the distance between the US and Asia is much longer than that between the US and Africa. For instance, while the distance between Houston, US and Ghana is 5,513 nautical miles, the distance between Houston, US and Beijing, China is 6,276 nautical miles. While some rationalize the higher fares by arguing that Africa has less traffic volume, it must be noted that flights to/from African countries are often overbooked (as noted in item 4 below).

2. The rudeness of most European airline staff to Africans is serious enough to bother any human being with a conscience. Africans at European airports are simply ignored, snubbed and downrightly disrespected. In fact, a substantial number of African passengers feel frustrated when trying to ask European flight attendants and the staff any question concerning their connecting flights. Furthermore, the quality of food and refreshment offered in flights to and from African countries leaves a lot to be desired. For instance, food served to passengers leaving Europe for Africa are in much smaller portion than those served to passengers from North America to Europe. While drinks are served to the passengers (mostly Westerners) from North America to Europe in whole bottles and cans, passengers from Europe to Africa (mostly Africans) are served with small plastic cups; higher fares paid by Africans notwithstanding.

3. In violation of moral code, mosquito and other insect killing chemicals (well-known to be dangerously harmful to humans) are being sprayed in the passenger areas of these European airplanes right before leaving Africa for Europe. In fact, what is shocking to any human being with a conscience is that these hazardous chemicals are sprayed WHILE African passengers are seated in these flights. Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are the worst in this regard. Africans are human beings; they are not insects.

4. Any one traveling from North America to Africa via Europe will note that airplanes on the Trans-Atlantic route are much newer and with much legroom, while those leaving Europe for Africa are much older and crampy. Africans deserve similar newer planes with similar legroom as those flying to and from North America and Europe.

5. Overbooking of flights to and from Africa by European airlines is well known, especially flights returning from Africa. It is also well known that some Africans have been stranded due to the overbooking of flights. Stories of some Africans waiting for days to be rebooked are common. No doubt, those stranded Africans suffer not only apparent inconveniences, but in addition and most importantly, financial losses.


6. African passengers, more often than not, have been singled out by some European airline officials and treated as criminals. As such, Africans have been subjected to the most unwarranted and humiliating search at European airports. Alitalia and Lufthansa are the worst in this strip-search. Some Africans have been stripped almost naked in the process of being searched. While we recognize the need for tighter security at airports, it is a well-known fact that Africans have long been subjected to strip-search at Western airports. Strip-searching only Africans is a gross violation of their fundamental human rights. Africans, like any other group of human beings, deserve respect and dignity.

Painfully noting the above injustice, mistreatment and sheer disrespect of Africans by the European airline officials, and the regrettable fact that so many African governments are indifferent to the sufferings of their own people, we, the signatories to this petition call for immediate action to remedy these gross abuses of human rights. We believe that addressing these concerns will be beneficial not only to Africans, but to the airlines, as well as humanity in general.

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Hilda FryeBy:
Politics and GovernmentIn:
Petition target:
Lufthansa, Alitalia, British Airways, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, United Nations (UN), Organization of African Unity (OAU),Opera Winfrey, Kweisi Mfume, President NAACP; Rev. Jessie Jackson,Condoleeza Rice

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