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Central Switzerland municipalities to become safe harbours

SEEBRÜCKE Switzerland has taken the occasion of the action “beim Namen nennen” on 19 June 2021 in Lucerne to write to all 156 municipalities in Central Switzerland that have not yet taken a public position. The municipalities of Kriens and Lucerne have already sent a political signal against the inhumane asylum policy.

The letter was addressed to the respective municipal administration and asks them to declare their solidarity with people fleeing as a first step. This public declaration of solidarity can be followed by further concrete steps for action, such as addressing the concrete demand for additional admission of refugees to the federal government.

These are the responses from the municipalities in Central Switzerland:

Canton Nidwalden

  • The municipality of Ennetbürgen states that it has no “capacity for the rapid and uncomplicated reception and accommodation of people rescued from distress at sea” and refers to the cantonal responsibility.
  • The Stansstad municipal council is of the opinion that there are already competent authorities and capacities in this area at federal and cantonal level. In addition, the municipality does not have the human and financial resources to comply with the request and rejects it.
  • The municipality of Stans rejects the application with reference to its responsibilities and the lack of human resources to care for admitted persons.
  • Dallenwil does not address the request in its response. The municipal council rejects the payment of a municipal contribution to Seebrücke.
  • The municipality of Emmetten states that it is unable to meet the request due to the municipality’s lack of competence.

Canton of Lucerne

  • The municipality of Escholzmatt-Marbach rejects the declaration of solidarity because it is “associated with numerous conditions and obligations” and thus with “an unknown organisational and financial burden”.
  • “The Entlebuch municipal council refrains from making a public declaration of solidarity as a safe harbour”. It does not state any further reasons.
  • Grosswangen Municipal Council does not support this safe harbour motion”. It does not state any further reasons.
  • The Neuenkirch commune rejects the campaign “in line with the position of the Canton of Lucerne”.
  • The Werthenstein municipal council “has decided to reject [the] request”. It does not state any further reasons.
  • The municipality of Sempach rejects the application because “the resulting conditions and obligations […] cannot be borne”. The municipality acknowledges the concern of Seebrücke Schweiz in principle and is committed “with a one-time solidarity contribution of CHF 1,000”.

Canton Uri

  • The municipality of Sisikon states that it “has no political orientation in the municipal council” and therefore does not want to take a position. The municipality is also unable to support the campaign due to its size and financial situation.
  • The municipality of Erstfeld rejects the campaign with reference to the SEM’s responsibility.
  • The municipality of Flüelen does not consider itself responsible either, but refers to the responsibility of the canton of Uri.
  • Spiringen refuses to “express itself on political issues of national or even international importance”.

Canton Zug

  • The municipality of Oberägeri states that it is already “regularly involved in various projects at home and abroad” and therefore sees no need for further action.

Canton Schwyz

  • The municipality of Altendorf wants to stick to the existing system and not become active.
  • The municipality of Steinen sees its commitment primarily in the integration of persons allocated to them by the federal government.
  • The municipality of Lauerz sees itself as a “small rural municipality […] extraordinarily limited, especially in the area of housing” and therefore rejects the safe haven declaration.
  • The municipality of Arth would like this concern to be addressed to the federal government or the canton and for them to then find uniform solutions together with the municipalities.
  • The municipality of Morschach refrains from becoming active, as it already “fulfilling its duties within the framework of the cantonal requirements”.
  • The municipality of Schwyz declines to support the campaign with kind words: “We declare our solidarity with the goals of Seebrücke Schweiz by opposing the criminalisation of sea rescue on the Mediterranean.” However, he said, one does not have sufficient resources to take in more people fleeing.

We will add additional answers here as soon as we have received the feedback from the municipalities.
We are still in contact with respective administrations.