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.
- The municipality of Eggersriet sees no need for further action: “Eggersriet is integrated in the TISG network and fulfills the integration and care tasks in this context.”
- The municipality of Lichtensteig refrains from making a public declaration of solidarity and “continues to put all its energy into integrating refugees locally”.
- Oberhelfenschwil does not address the request in its response. The municipal council rejects the payment of a financial contribution to Seebrücke.
- The municipality of Berg does not address our concerns. It complies with the cantonal regulations.
- The municipality of Au refrains from becoming a Safe Harbour because it has “confidence in the federal government’s policy”.
- The municipality of Rheineck expresses its concern about the situation described by us, but with reference to the existing commitment to the care of refugees in the municipality, refrains from making a statement on the “Safe Harbour”.
- The municipality of Vilters-Wangs refers to its responsibility solely in the care of the persons assigned by the federal government and the canton and rejects any further expression of solidarity.
- The municipality of Neckertal refers to the comprehensive care of the persons assigned to it and the difficult conditions of their economic integration in the structurally weak area. Therefore, the municipal council does not see any possibility of further commitment.
- The municipality of Ebnat-Kappel refers to the responsibility of the federal government and the lack of opportunity for the municipality to participate. The municipality will continue to fulfill its tasks in the care of refugees.
- The municipality of Rüthi refers to its existing commitment in the care of refugees assigned to it. Furthermore, the federal government and the cantons are responsible for political decisions, which the municipality does not want to question.
- The municipalities of Balgach, Gams, Gommiswald, Grabs, Diepoldsau, Marbach, Mörschwil, Oberriet, Oberuzwil, Rapperswil-Jona, Rorschacherberg, St. Margrethen, Wartau, Wattwil and Widnau argue analogously to the municipality of Rüthi and reject the proposal.
- The municipality of Berneck refers to the different responsibilities of municipalities, cantons and the federal government in the field of asylum. They do not want to question this division of responsibilities.
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.