Logo Seebrücke Schweiz

St. Gall municipalities to become safe harbors

SEEBRÜCKE Switzerland took the opportunity of the campaign “beim Namen nennen” on 5 June 2021 in St. Gallen to write to 78 municipalities in the canton. This corresponds to all political municipalities in St. Gallen that have not yet taken a public position. The municipalities of Buchs, Sevelen, Wil and the city of St. Gall 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 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.

Responses to the campaign so far:

  • The municipality of Nesslau has “no interest” because “integration is already well and uniformly regulated”.
  • The municipality of Walenstadt wants to “stick to the tried and tested system within the canton of St. Gallen” and sees no need for action at present.
  • The municipality of Jonschwil rejects the proposal for reasons of competence. This was decided after the annual meeting of the TISG (Trägerverein Integrationsprojekte St.Gallen) and the VSGP (Vereinigung der SG-Gemeindepräsidenten/innen), which pointed out the historical competence of the federal government. They did not want to upset this distribution system.
  • The municipality of Niederhelfenschwil rejects the proposal for reasons of competence. This was decided after the annual meeting of the TISG (Trägerverein Integrationsprojekte St.Gallen) and the VSGP (Vereinigung der SG-Gemeindepräsidenten/innen), which point to the historical competence of the federal government. They do not want to upset this distribution system.
  • The municipality of Oberriet rejects the campaign, citing the competence of the TISG. It advises against going it alone and points out the high follow-up costs.
  • The municipality of Tübach refers to the responsibility of the federal government and its cooperation with the TISG and “waives the additional declaration on the safe harbour”.
  • The municipality of Hemberg refers to its existing cooperation with the TISG and declares that it is already above the absorption key.
  • The municipality of Kirchberg claims to host the largest number of refugees in the canton and not to be responsible for taking in additional people.
  • The municipality of Muolen already sees itself as a Safe Harbor, as it has been strongly committed to good cohesion and integration in the past. Should a decision be made at the federal level to take in more people, the municipality will acknowledge its responsibility.

We will supplement the answers here as soon as we have received the feedback from the municipalities.
In addition, we are still in contact with the individual administration.