LONDON – Spanish charter carrier Privilege Style has come under fire for its involvement in removing the first set of refugees from the UK to Rwanda.
Information from the UK CAA shows that the carrier has been assigned a permit under Article 250 for charter operations.
It is understood that the airline’s Boeing 767 registered as EC-LZO, will depart London Stansted at 2130 UTC and will arrive in Kigali at 0620 UTC the next morning.
Protests To Take Place in Mallorca…
Freedom from Torture, a pressure group based in the UK, has sent protestors to Privilege Style’s headquarters in Palma de Mallorca today to protest about these flights.
Kolbassia Haoussou MBE, Director of Survivor Empowerment at Freedom from Torture was also at the protest, and had this to say on the matter:
“In the last week alone, people in the UK have made hundreds of calls and sent over 30,000 letters to airlines suspected of involvement in the UK government’s cruel Rwanda scheme.”
“Privilege Style thought they could ignore us, so we traveled to their headquarters in Mallorca to give them the message directly.”
“Across the UK, everyone from people protesting in the streets to the heir to the throne has spoken out against this neocolonial ‘cash for humans’ policy.”
“With torture survivors believed to be on tonight’s flight, it is crucial that we unite to show airlines like Privilege Style that we won’t tolerate them flying in the face of human decency.”
Haoussou is a torture survivor from Central Africa who has been speaking out and raising awareness about the impact of torture and advocates for policy change.
He is also a survivor champion for the UK Government’s Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative and received an MBE in 2019 for his work.
Imagery from the Protest…
Below, you can see imagery from the protest carried out by Freedom from Torture:
Other Carriers Have Already Ruled Out Involvement…
Other carriers who have been involved in previous deportations, such as Titan Airways and AirTanker, have already ruled out operating these flights for the UK Government.
As for Privilege Style, they have not ruled out nor reversed their decision in operating these flights, and have gone as far as disabling comments and messages on their respective social media to avoid protests about this.
This is why the likes of Freedom from Torture are sending protestors to their headquarters in Palma as a result.
Privilege Style is a private airline that operates charter flights on behalf of other airlines, tour operators, sports teams, and other VIP customers.
At the time of writing, Privilege Style has not openly responded to any press queries regarding these flights.
It remains clear that Privilege Style is doing all it can to ensure that the flights will operate as normal tonight to Kigali, as the first set of refugees is being transferred from Stansted.
Looking ahead, it will be interesting to see whether the High Court or other pressure groups will be able to strike down a motion for these flights to go ahead in time for the 21:30UTC departure time.
But for now, all we can do is sit back and watch to see what happens, and whether Privilege Style will press forward, irrespective of public backlash or not.
With the UN refugee agency deeming the UK’s plans to send migrants who arrive in Britain unlawfully to Rwanda as “unacceptable” and a breach of international law, it’s difficult to establish whether the UK will stick to their guns in this as well.