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Initiative “realizing welcoming cities and communities of solidarity” rejected by the National Council

5. July 2022

In a preliminary examination on 16.06.2022, the National Council rejected the initiative “realizing welcoming cities and communities of solidarity” of the Green Party by 119 votes to 70.

The initiative calls for the federal government to create the conditions in the Asylum Act, in addition to Article 56 AsylA, for additional opportunities to accept people seeking protection at the request of municipalities and cantons. This means that municipalities and cantons should be given the opportunity to take in people on the move in groups on a self-determined basis.

Although it is a good approach, the Greens set a number of conditions in their initiative that are attached to additional reception:

  • If cities submit a corresponding application to the federal government to take in a refugee contingent;
  • they ensure the accommodation of those seeking protection and themselves assume that part of the financing for which the federal government is otherwise responsible;
  • The protection seekers meet the other requirements for admission as a group (resettlement via UNHCR, relocation, admission as war refugees, security check, etc.).

For us, however, it is clear that all people who are forced to leave a country must be granted admission. Local reception is essential for this. Cities and municipalities must be given full responsibility to decide for themselves who lives in their districts.

The Commission’s justification for the rejection reads as follows:

“The Commission has rejected the parliamentary initiative 21.519 of the Green Group together with the Initiative 21.310 of the Canton of Basel-Stadt. Both demand that in humanitarian crises
additional refugees can be accepted.

In the opinion of the commission, the implementation of a mechanism that would allow municipalities and cantons willing to take in additional refugees at their own expense, would contradict the current system. The SPK-N has therefore decided not to follow the parliamentary initiative. It also emphasizes that the realization of such a system would be would be extremely complex, especially with regard to responsibilities and financing, and that in the long term, enforcement would be made more difficult. In general, it is of the opinion that the humanitarian emergency assistance on the ground, as well as the current resettlement and relocation strategy, are to be preferred.”

State Policy Commission Report, April 29, 2022.

More information:

Minutes of the brief debate online

Arguments of the majority recorded in writing in the brief commission report

All details about the initiative.