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Open Letter to Domenico ‘Mimmo’ Lucano

17. October 2021
News Uncategorized

At the end of September 2021, the former mayor of Riace, Domenico ‘Mimmo’ Lucano, was sentenced in first instance to 13 years and 2 months imprisonment for, among other things, “aiding and abetting illegal immigration”. Riace, a small town in southern Italy has long been considered a safe haven and an example of an open community.

Left-wing members of the European Parliament have written a letter of solidarity to Mimmo Lucano, joined by members of the Swiss National Council, to show that across European borders this judgment against humanity and humanitarian values cannot and must not be tolerated.

The original letter can be found here.


Dear Mimmo,

As members of the Swiss National Council, we would like to express our solidarity, as well as our full human and political support, to you, to your fellow campaigners and to all those who have been involved in the realization of the experience of Riace, the city of hospitality. Thanks to you, this small town in Calabria has become an example of humanity and hope against xenophobia, racism and fear.

The first instance sentence is not only disproportionate, but also unjust and absurd. This is a poster child for what criminalization of solidarity looks like. We must raise our voices against this throughout Europe and therefore send you our full solidarity.

The sentence pronounced is an attack on a living example that has shown how it can be possible to open doors to welcome refugees and build communities instead of walls when people are fleeing war, poverty and misery. Riace was all of these things. It was the opposite of the hate speech on which the radical right across Europe builds its racist narratives. It was the opposite of the inhumane European migration policies that focus on expanding Fortress Europe and keeping people from arriving here at all costs. Riace was an example that was admired throughout Europe because it put the dignity and human rights of people on the run first.

You need to know that you are not alone, neither in Riace nor in Italy. Throughout Europe and here in Switzerland, we admire and support what you have done and will continue to support the fight for justice and the proof of your innocence. The only interest you have pursued is that of solidarity. This is the common cause for which we continue to fight, that of humanity against barbarism.

In solidarity,

The members of the Swiss National Council


Caro Mimmo,

come deputati del Consiglio nazionale svizzero, vogliamo esprimere la nostra solidarietà, il nostro pieno sostegno umano e politico a te, ai tuoi compagni e a tutti coloro che sono stati protagonisti della costruzione dell’esperienza di Riace, città dell’accoglienza. Grazie a voi questo piccolo paese calabrese è diventato un esempio di umanità e di speranza contro la xenofobia, il razzismo e la paura.

La sentenza di primo grado non è semplicemente sproporzionata, ma ingiusta e assurda. Vediamo qui esattamente cosa significa la criminalizzazione della solidarietà. E dobbiamo parlare e opporci a questo in tutta l’Europa; per questo ti mandiamo tutta la nostra solidarietà.

Ciò che è stato colpito con questa sentenza è un esempio, che ha mostrato come sia possibile aprire porte e accogliere i profughi, costruendo comunità invece di muri quando le persone fuggono dalla guerra, dalla povertà e dalla miseria. Riace era tutto questo. Era l’esatto opposto dei discorsi di odio su cui l’estrema destra in tutta Europa costruisce le sue narrazioni razziste. Era l’opposto delle disumane politiche migratorie europee, che si concentrano sulla costruzione della Fortezza Europa e impediscono a tutti i costi di entrare nell’Europa. Riace ne è stato un esempio, ammirato in tutta Europa mettendo al primo posto la dignità ei diritti umani dei migranti.

Devi sapere che non sei solo, a Riace e in Italia. In tutta Europa e qui in svizzera ammiriamo e sosteniamo ciò che avete fatto e continueremo a sostenere la battaglia per la giustizia e per dimostrare la vostra innocenza. L’unico interesse che hai seguito è quello della solidarietà. Ed è la causa comune per la quale continuiamo a lottare, quella dell’umanità, contro la barbarie.

In solidarietà

I membri del Consiglio nazionale svizzero

Samira MARTI


Brigitte CROTTAZ


Balthasar GLÄTTLI

Michael TÖNGI





Christophe CLIVAZ

Nicolas WALDER



Beim Namen nennen – Swiss-wide action day for 20 June 2021

25. June 2021

The International Day for Refugees takes place on June 20. On the occasion of this day, various church and civil society organizations have launched the action Beim Namen nennen. Accompanied by numerous local actions, the names and stories of all those who have lost their lives trying to reach Europe are read out on this or the preceding day.

Within these hours, more than 44,000 people are commemorated. 44,000 people who have been registered since 1993. However, the tragedy in the Mediterranean continues and repeats itself every day. On the other hand and beyond the Mediterranean, only abstract numbers of disappeared and deceased reach the public.

This year’s action is intended to remind us again that even abstract numbers are individuals who bring more with them than a political discourse about security and integration. They are families, young children or young adults who put everything at stake on risk in order to live a dignified life with equal opportunities. Fortress Europe denies this opportunity and ensures with its deterrent asylum policy that people have no safe escape routes to choose from.

Next year, names and stories will be read aloud again. Until then, we hope that the list will not become even longer.

The action Beim Namen nennen was accompanied by numerous local, artistic performances.

The Mediterranean Monologues

In cooperation with Alarm Phone Switzerland and the Maxim Theater Zurich, Seebrücke brought the documentary theater “Mediterranean Monologues” from Berlin to Switzerland. Providing a framework for the campaign, it was performed in a total of four times, in Zurich, Bern, Lucerne and St. Gallen. The “Mediterranean Monologues” tell of Naomie from Cameroon and Yassin from Libya, of political resistance, of a boat on its way to Europe. The texts were created verbatim from interviews lasting several hours and are performed with musical accompaniment.

It is not easy to listen for almost two hours to four people describing human fears, desires and hopes. But this theatrical performance forces you to stay seated and engage with the subject matter. The end result is a moving evening, with great acting and new reflections on the right to safe arrival.


Together with the Catholic and Reformed churches and the Solinetz Luzern, the names of all the deceased and the circumstances of their deaths were read out during 24 hours. Parallel to the reading of the names, the participants wrote what had been read out on white strips of cloth and hung them on a wooden construction in front of the church.

Damian Meyer, together with young artists, also created wooden memorial sculptures that deal with displacement and flight, but also with arrival and hope.


In collaboration with Sea Eye, an installation of tents and posters (#NowYouSeeMeMoria) was created on the Bundesplatz over the weekend of the action, drawing attention to the situation of the Greek camps and calling for their immediate evacuation. Four small and large tents stood fenced in front of the Bundesplatz, sending a clear signal to the National Council and Federal Councillor Karin Keller-Sutter.


About 60 people and volunteers took part in the action this year in Geneva. Among them were representatives of the organizations Association pour la Promotion des Droits Humains, Vivre Ensemble or UNHCR. Private individuals such as Jean Ziegler were also contributing to this day. On Friday afternoon, visitors were able to enjoy a flamenco performance. During the two days, participants wrote the individual stories of the deceased on small strips of paper, which were then pinned to a wooden construction.

Accompanying the reading of the names and the circumstances of death, passers-by could visit the new exhibition of Seebrücke. The path migration describes the arduous journey from the African continent to Europe. In different stages, hurdles and risks are presented that people have to experience on their migration route. The exhibition can be found here.