#Human Rights
Ethiopian Airlines

On January 24, 2007 in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, Ethiopian Airlines denied boarding to four Ethiopian passengers. Mr. Henock M. Beyene, Mrs. Rebecca Tesfaye, Mr. Yoseph Tesfaye, and Mrs. Elsa Zetaos (the Bahir Dar Passengers) carried boarding passes on a flight from Bahir Dar to Addis Ababa on the stated date when Ethiopian Airlines management selectively denied them permission to board the plane without requesting their consent. This story is documented by multiple articles in the Ethiopian Reporter and began with this write up by Mr. Beyene http://www.ethiopianreporter.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=11575

The principal complaint of the Ethiopian passengers is that they were denied boarding because of Ethiopian heritage. Without any request for volunteers to forfeit their seats on the flight, the Ethiopian passengers asked for justification on why they were singled out to stay behind. After proving their equality to all other passengers on the flight (i.e. foreign passport, foreign currency, and boarding pass) it was clear that the only remaining difference was national heritage.

Following a face-to-face apology by Ethiopian Airlines, a public relations manager published a public apology letter acknowledging that the passengers were mistreated yet completely denying that the treatment was discriminatory.

By restating the facts from January 24, 2007, the petition enforces that the decision by Ethiopian Airlines management in Bahir Dar was based on prejudice and presents six demands to the airlines.

1. Present the written policy of Ethiopian Airlines in the event of overbooked flights
2. Disclose employee training materials on customer service
3. Confirm what corrective action(s) has/have been taken to prevent recurrence
4. Announce all disciplinary/punitive actions enforced upon the Ethiopian Airlines manager at the Bahir Dar Airport
5. Display a list of customer’s rights where employees of Ethiopian Airlines interact with their customers
6. Reissue an apology in writing to the Bahir Dar Passengers acknowledging the discriminatory treatment that took place in Bahir Dar

With deadlines associated to each demand, the Bahir Dar Passengers appeal to all Ethiopians and all people who detest acts of discrimination to endorse this petition so that Ethiopian Airlines will eliminate this practice from their internal operating procedures. As this is not an isolated incident, we present these demands as a means to push Ethiopian Airlines forward in hopes that changes can be made before many Ethiopians, Africans, friends of Ethiopia, and welcomed tourists arrive to celebrate the Ethiopian Millennium.

The full text of the petition including applicable deadlines for the demands is posted at the following link:

NOTE: This petition does not endorse anti-governmental sentiments, allow religious criticism, tolerate disrespect of ethnicities or initiate any legal action against Ethiopian Airlines. Any comments by those who endorse the petition must honor these terms or understand that their signature may be deleted for violation of these premises.

As of March 31, 2009, the following update has taken place in response to complaints.
EAL provides it's policy for denial of boarding and compensation.
EAL main page-->Information & Services-->customer support
select customer rights from the drop-down menu

This is a good resolution to the petition. further details are cosmetic...to see the information consolidated within separate documents as well as in its current form of FAQ. The FAQ makes it easy to find...and the report will give full context within a "Contract of Carriage" or "Customer Service Commitment" document.

Let us all, from every corner of the world, press to change Ethiopian Airlines for the better. We should not let Ethiopian Airlines ridicule itself by violating the rights of Ethiopians. If Ethiopian Airlines is representing Ethiopia and Ethiopians, the company needs to have sound practices that present and maintain the sovereignty, dignity, and equality of our country and our people. The slavish practice that gives priority to others by discounting the rights of Ethiopians can no longer be allowed. Let us join hands and push forward to alter the bad practices utilized by Ethiopian Airlines to manage overbooked/oversold flights. We cannot remain silent when the rights of Ethiopians are systematically devalued.

We, the undersigned supporters of this petition, represent the solidarity of Ethiopian citizens, Ethiopian expatriates in the Diaspora, and all people of the world who condemn acts of discrimination. This petition documents a unified rejection of Ethiopian Airlines’ deplorable attempt to marginalize blatantly discriminatory treatment practices on January 24, 2007 in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia.

Thus, we call upon Ethiopian Airlines to accept and adhere to six demands stated within by their respective deadlines.

The Rejection of Discriminatory Practices by Ethiopian Airlines petition to Ethiopian Airlines was written by BDP Council 4 ET Equality and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.