"Municipalities across Europe are willing to welcome more people"
Hi Liza, in the last weeks thousands of people all over Germany have demonstrated under the motto #Leavenoonebehind. The SEABRIDGE movement has also played a major role. What is the defining characteristic of your movement?
The SEEBRÜCKE stands up for the rights of refugees - and for municipal reception, i.e. that cities and municipalities can voluntarily take in additional refugees. For example boat refugees or refugees from the terrible camps in Greece. Everyone who shares our goals can join the SEEBRÜCKE. That is why we bring together very different people. But all are united by the deep conviction that every person has a right to have rights. It simply cannot be that people are not entitled to a life in dignity because of their origin or appearance.
With the campaign #Leavenoonebehind we express exactly that. We show that even now, in the Corona crisis, there are countless people who are not only thinking of themselves, but who are in solidarity. And we want to help all those who are now particularly suffering: refugees, homeless people, people in precarious life situations. Particularly the refugees in Greece, who are accommodated in overcrowded camps by the thousands without any corona protection, are in the focus of attention.
United4Rescue is also demanding that cities and municipalities that wish to accept additional people seeking protection should be given the opportunity to do so. How might this look in practice? What are the concrete steps that you are demanding from politicians?
Our aim is to give municipalities more say in migration policy. Throughout Europe, municipalities are ready to take in additional people. This should finally be made possible. There are different ideas and suggestions for the implementation. One way forward would be to establish direct cooperation between the European and local levels and thus a European relocation programme in which local authorities can participate directly. (Note: Relocation is the movement of persons in need of protection from one EU state to another EU state).
Additional admission via the Länder, through Länder admission programmes, is also very conceivable. There are therefore existing legal possibilities that could be used.
What do demonstrations actually look like in times of strict hygiene rules, distance rules and event bans?
As a SEEBRÜCKE we decided to continue on the road already in the first days of the Corona crisis - but of course with all the necessary safety measures and distance rules. The many local groups of the SEEBRÜCKE have become incredibly creative and have completely reorganized their protests: With footprints of paint in front of town halls, demonstrating toy figures, chalk messages on the sidewalks or painted banners hanging from the windows. Our online demonstrations were also new and very successful.
But of course we hope that we will soon be able to take to the streets again as in the past and to show the flag for humanity and human rights together with many other people!