Refugee Air: “We welcome the first refugees who have had a safe passage by air to Sweden”

Press Release
Stockholm, 2015-10-28

After intense efforts to showcase that there are legal ways for refugees to take safe routes into the EU, and to bring this issue to the top of the agenda in several European countries, Refugee Air today announces that the initiative endorses the European Redistribution Program and the Swedish government’s decision to increase its UN quotas threefold.

”This is a huge cause for celebration and plays well into our main agenda; to create safe routes for refugees into the EU. We have already proven that the carrier’s liability has been misread and has no actual impact on the situation, in fact refugees have the right to fly”, says Susanne Najafi, co-initiator of Refugee Air. We have worked immensely to make safe routes a reality and are very happy to see European leaders come together and put this into practice by establishing a permanent program and a viable solution for safe refugee passage by air in crisis situations.

 

Earlier this month Refugee Air announced that their legal investigation shows that all Syrian refugees are entitled to fly to EU-countries. The European Distribution Program is a solution that enables immediate routes for asylum seekers within the EU in accordance with the program.

“One of our most outspoken goals was to charter a plane to showcase that safe passage through air for refugees is a viable option and to turn this option into a sustainable model. We are therefore extremely happy that the European countries have acted on this issue and applied sustainable processes to enable thousands and thousands of refugees safe routes into the EU”, says Emad Zand. ”The inaugural flight was a big win not only for our cause, but for all initiatives that have been pushing for safe routes for refugees. We believe that the EU and in particular Sweden has set an important precedent.”

 

The Refugee Air initiative started in September and has quickly grown into a collaborative movement engaging hundreds of Sweden’s most influential entrepreneurs, lawyers, and other leading professionals working hands-on to put a stop to people risking their lives at sea due to policies.

“We have reached over 830 million people with our #letthemfly campaign and thousands have contacted us to find out how they can help. There is a large movement in Europe that wants to see refugees being able to fly safely to the EU and now we are seeing this happening.” says Emad Zand

 

Going forward Refugee Air will continue working with improving the conditions for refugees locally in Sweden and are currently in discussions with multiple governmental organizations and NGO’s in order to share the resources and knowledge obtained within the initiative.

“We have showed that crowd-sourced entrepreneurial organizations like Refugee Air can move fast and provide massive resources both to established NGOs and governments. This might be the future way of mobilizing help and support in crisis situations and we are happy to share the blueprint of Refugee Air”, says Susanne Najafi.

 

About Flight:

Three weeks ago the first 15 refugees boarded a flight bound for Sweden. These were the first passengers under the European Distribution Program organized with Frontex and Sweden, a key negotiating party in this agreement, was the first country in Europe to welcome these people to its borders to apply for asylum.

 

Comment about the European Redistribution Program and Sweden increasing its UN quota:

“We are happy to witness the first refugees arriving in Sweden under the European Redistribution Program – and another 2,500 have been approved to fly in. Additionally, Sweden recently expanded its program for outside EU travel into Sweden by increasing its UN quotas threefold to 5,000″, says Emad Zand, co-initiator of Refugee Air. We are proud to have been an enabling force for this decision and see it as a big win for our cause; to create safe routes for refugees into the EU

 

About Refugee Air

Refugee Air is a non-profit initiative led by action-driven entrepreneurs and humanitarians aimed at enabling refugees to safely travel into the EU. We know how to solve problems and get things done and we want to make a difference right now. We’re putting crowd-sourced competencies and our extensive networks to work to save lives and drive positive change.

Susanne Najafi is a serial entrepreneur who has built a large number of companies across industries. She now invests in new ideas and start-up ventures.

Emad Zand is a serial entrepreneur within healthcare and tech and has built, run and sold companies employing thousands of people.

For more information please visit:

www.refugeeair.org

www.facebook.com/refugeeair

Instagram: @refugee_air

Twitter: @RefugeeAir

Hashtag #letthemfly

Press contact:

Omid Ekhlasi, PR director, Refugees Air

Tel: +46 (0) 735 25 25 09

Email: press@refugeeair.org

Swedish non-profit initiative Refugee Air to airlift Syrian refugees to safety in the EU

Press Release
2015-09-10

A group of Swedish entrepreneurs and humanitarians is tired of witnessing refugees drowning in the Mediterranean and has decided to do something about it. Refugee Air aims to make safe routes into the EU a reality.

“We’re going to have a first airplane flying refugees to safety before the first snow falls over Stockholm” says Susanne Najafi, co-initiator of Refugee Air.

Refugees without visas are currently not able to travel by air due to “Carriers Liability”, an EU directive making carriers financially liable for all costs related to passengers who are not ultimately granted asylum at their destination in the EU.

”These policies push refugees into the hands of smugglers who take advantage of their desperation,” says Emad Zand, co-initiator of Refugee Air. “It’s senseless, we can’t just sit and watch people die. We’re going to show that it doesn’t have to be this way”

With backing from both private and corporate donors, Refugee Air plans to either charter airplanes or work with existing airlines to enable refugees to safely travel from areas of unrest to safety in the EU.

“As entrepreneurs we find solutions, and if we can fly people to the moon, why shouldn’t we be able to fly refugees safely to Europe” says Najafi. Besides actually flying refugees to safety, the initiative is also pushing for a sustainable solution to remove the wall around Europe that the directive on Carrier’s Liability has raised.

The initiative Refugee Air started over the weekend and has quickly grown into a collaborative movement engaging hundreds of Sweden’s most influential entrepreneurs, lawyers, and other leading professionals all working hands-on to get Refugee Air off the ground.

About
Refugee Air is a non-profit initiative led by action-driven entrepreneurs and humanitarians aimed at enabling refugees to safely travel into the EU. We know how to solve problems and get things done and we want to make a difference right now. We’re putting crowd-sourced competencies and our extensive networks to work to save lives and drive positive change.

Susanne Najafi is a serial entrepreneur who has built a large number of companies across industries. She now invests in new ideas and start-up ventures.

Emad Zand, is a serial entrepreneur within healthcare and tech and has built and run companies employing thousands of people.

For more information please visit:
www.refugeeair.org
www.facebook.com/refugeeair
Instagram: @refugee_air
Twitter: @RefugeeAir
Hashtag #LetThemFly

Press contact:
Omid Ekhlasi, PR director, Refugees Air
Tel: +46 (0) 735 25 25 09
Email: press@refugeeair.org

Press & Contact

For general questions:
info@refugeeair.org

For press inquiries:
press@refugeeair.org

Resources

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