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Mission statement of Seebrücke Switzerland

We build bridges to safe harbors.

SEEBRÜCKE Switzerland advocates for a universal and humanitarian right to migration. We want to create a society in which solidarity does not stop at national borders and which takes a public stand against the criminalization of sea rescue in the Mediterranean.

When Sea-Watch captain Carola Rackete was arrested during summer of 2019 in Italy, some activists from Switzerland decided to turn their outrage into political activism. They became part of the movement SEEBRÜCKE and since have been campaigning for Swiss cities, municipalities, and cantons to declare themselves safe harbors, by:

  • Declaring solidarity with displaced persons and with the objectives of the SEEBRÜCKE initiative.
  • Taking a public stance against the criminalization of search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean and actively supporting these, as well as sponsoring or participating in the sponsorship and financial support of a civil sea rescue vessel.
  • Ensuring the rapid and uncomplicated reception and accommodation of people rescued from distress at sea, in addition to the distribution quota of those seeking protection.
  • Lobbying the Federal Government to establish new programs for the legal reception of refugees and/or significantly expand existing programs, and offer additional reception places for this purpose.
  • Ensuring long-term arrival by providing all resources necessary for humane care, in particular in the areas of housing, medical care, and education.
  • Actively committing to the implementation of the above points at the regional, national, and European level.
  • Working towards an alliance of all safe harbors in Europe in order to actively shape European migration policy in conformity with human rights.
  • Making public, in a timely and continuous manner, all actions undertaken to make them safe harbors.

Where federal policy fails to live up to its responsibilities, civil society has to take action. Letting people die in the Mediterranean Sea and criminalizing the saving of human lives does not represent a sense of responsibility. The condoning of the dying of people on the Mediterranean must end.

In the capital city of Berne, Switzerland’s first proposal was submitted in November 2020 for the city to declare itself a safe harbour.