The Cantonal Council of Geneva has approved a motion by 17 politicians promising to take in 20 families from the temporary camp Kara Tepe on Lesbos. Kara Tepe was built after fire broke out at the original camp Moria in early September. It still houses 10,000 people in inhumane conditions.
The motion, titled “Request for humanitarian admission of refugee families living in the Kara Tepe camp on the island of Lesvos,” initially called for up to ten families to be taken in. However, after the motion was declared urgent, there was also a change in the text. In the end, the new text and an admission of 20 families was approved by 52 to 43 votes.
Although many cities and municipalities in Switzerland have shown solidarity with the refugees in Moria, this has not yet been followed by concrete measures. The federal government is keeping a low profile and apart from taking in a few children and young people, most of whom already had family ties in Switzerland, we have yet to see any active, let alone humanitarian, action.
Switzerland has never received so little refugees as in this current period. In light of the current pandemic, this is frightening. The pandemic should not be a reason for us to try to deny what is happening on Lesbos and at the European external borders!
With this proposal, Geneva has once again shown how important it is to continue to build pressure on the federal government. Swiss cities and municipalities must do the same, because this is the only way to ensure that the fundamental right to asylum is not completely dehumanized and that Switzerland ends its restrictive migration policy.