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«Call to the commune of Sainte-Croix to take in refugees from the Greek islands»

Level: Municipality
Municipality: Sainte-Croix (VD)
Status: Accepted


On Monday evening, Isabelle Dessonnaz, Stéphane Mermod and five other members of the SP presented an interpellation to the municipal council in which they asked the council to join the appeal of the Swiss cities to accept refugees from Moria, especially families and unaccompanied minors.

Unanimously in the ranks of the left, the Interpellation divides the FDP: “This is a human issue that demands a humanitarian response from us. Sainte-Croix is distinguished not only by its artistic mechanics but also by its tradition of welcoming”, Philippe Gueissaz replies to his comrade-in-arms Paul-André Simon, who did not feel it necessary to vote on this issue, arguing that the Council is concerned with local affairs.

In the vote, the interpellation was returned to the executive with 27 votes in favour and 8 abstentions.

At the beginning of December 2020, the municipality of St. Croix sent a letter to the President of the Confederation Karin Keller-Sutter in which the municipality declared its commitment to the reception of refugees from camps on the Greek islands.

Letter from Sainte-Croix to president Karin Keller-Sutter

This latter can also be used as a template by other municipalities and cities.


The petition follows the call of the European Citizens Forum EBF:

The situation in the camps on the Greek islands is degrading

During the night of 8/9 September 2020 a major fire destroyed the refugee camp of Moria on the Greek island of Lesbos. At one stroke, all 12,000 people were homeless and wandered the streets. After the already inhumane situation in the camp, the humanitarian disaster had now become a reality. Subsequently, a few EU countries and Switzerland agreed to take in a few hundred people. This minimal number is a disgrace! Many are still homeless and 8,000 people who had to flee the fire in Moria are now waiting in a new, hastily built camp: without water supply and sanitation, without electricity or heating. The floor of the former firing range is contaminated with ammunition and again and again cartridges and non-detonated explosives are found. The next catastrophe is pre-programmed.

A broad campaign to take in refugees from the camps

50,000 people throughout Switzerland, the national churches and over 130 organisations have supported the Os-ter appeal of Amnesty International’s Evacuation NOW campaign and the Migration Charter, which calls for a rapid evacuation of the Greek camps and a generous reception of refugees. Numerous politicians – across all party lines – have also lent their support to these demands. What counts is not party affiliation, but the human conscience. The eight largest cities in Switzerland – Zurich, Berne, Basel City, Lucerne, Winterthur, St. Gallen, Lausanne and Geneva – have all joined in this appeal. Cities like Fribourg, Neuchâtel and Wil (SG) have joined, as have smaller municipalities. Here you will find extracts of three smaller municipalities that have already joined the appeal. All of them call on the federal authorities to do more to stop the distress on the Aegean islands and declare their willingness to take refugees from there. This is not just a moral statement, but a concrete offer which the Federal Council should accept.

The municipalities are the foundation of our democracy!

The hope that the Federal Council would take note of the open attitude of these towns and municipalities has unfortunately not been fulfilled so far. For this reason, as many smaller towns and villages throughout Switzerland as possible should also make their voices heard. The more numerous these are, the more it becomes clear that there is a willingness everywhere in our country to help the refugees. At the same time, the chances are increasing that the Federal Council will finally come to its senses and act in a humane manner. The Federal Council could take action today. Contrary to what Federal Councillor Keller-Suter said, the legal foundations for this already exist today. This is why we, residents of the municipality XYZ, demand that our municipal authorities take action:

  • to agree to accept refugees from the Greek islands,
  • communicate this decision publicly and forward it to the Federal Council.

You can download the petition here and we ask you to become active in your circle of friends. Here you can download a feedback card or you can send us an email to the following address: ch@forumcivique.org. Thank you in advance for your commitment!