FAQ:Frequently asked questions
We are an international movement, supported by various alliances and civil-society actors. So far we have local groups in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and France.
We stand in solidarity with all people in flight and we expect safe escape routes, the evacuation of all camps, and reception in European countries at once from German and European politics.
More about this at ”About us".
We take a stand against European isolationist policies and especially against the criminalisation of sea rescue. We stand in solidarity with all people who have experienced flight and call on politicians to create safe escape routes.
Since our founding in 2018, there are now more than 180 local groups across Europe, mostly in Germany, organising against European isolationist policies. Already around 250 counties and municipalities have declared themselves to be Safe Harbours and are campaigning for the reception of refugees, thereby demonstrating a collective willingness with which pressure can be exerted on the Federal Ministry of the Interior.
There have been numerous decentralised actions and large-scale demos as part of campaigns or days of action, such as #Leavenoonebehind in 2020 or, as part of Welcome United, the 13,000 chairs that were placed in front of the Bundestag in Berlin as a metaphor of the people in the Greek camp Moria.
You can find more about this under "Impact".
If you agree with our demands and see yourself as part of Seebrücke, you are. It is not necessary to be active in a local group.
There are currently over 180 local groups, consisting of between one and about 400 people, as well as a transregional structure.
The main topics and strategies differ from movement to movement, but of course there are overlaps. Nationwide, there are countless structures that act autonomously and about which we don't have a complete overview. Well-known transregional structures for just escape routes and asylum procedures are, for example, provided for by Pro Asyl. Europe Must Act and Germany Must Act, Abolish Frontex, No Lager oder Bleiberecht für alle are active in opposition to European isolationist policies.
Activists active in anti-racist projects and self-organised protection for refugees include, for example, The Voice Refugee Forum. Doctors without Borders, Medical Volenteers and other NGOs carry out work directly at the border.
Sea rescue organisations include Sea-Eye, Sea-Watch, and SOS Méditerranée.
There is a transregional and a regional structure. Regionally, local groups organise themselves decentrally, in part at federal state level as well. At the transregional level, various working groups are active and take care of organisational matters such as campaigns, newsletters, social media, networking, or the Safe Harbour cities. Other working groups work on topics such as Europe, national networking, structure, diversity and inclusion. These concerns affect all of Seebrücke and participation in the meetings need not be in person so people from different cities can be involved. The coordination council is elected by local groups and has the authority to make national decisions. Also part of the transregional structure is the office, which consists of salaried and paid staff. It takes care of finances, press relations, the website, IT, Safe Harbour Cities, and much more.
Read more at "About us".
Here you can check if there is already a local group in your city. You can get in touch with them via their contact information and join their meetings and actions. If you want to start a local group, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to make your city a Safe Harbour, you can find the first steps here.
An overview of how exactly to get involved can be found here.
Ask your friends, put up flyers, build a social media presence, ask local groups in your area to spread the word that someone in your city wants to get involved, check out Facebook groups, write to initiatives in your city, and if you don’t want to get started alone maybe check out the meeting of another group.
They organise actions to make people aware of the situation, educational events, or projects, such as making their municipality a Safe Harbour.
In addition, more or less regular meetings also take place.
Start a local group! Get together with others and talk about what your ideas and motivations are. Local groups act independently, so you can decide for yourself what projects you want to do and how you structure yourselves.
Nationally, you will be supported if you want, for example, by a Seebrücke email address, your own page on the homepage or access to our cloud storage. For material look here.
You can also be included in newsletters where national updates are posted and connect with other local groups and activists! Contact email@example.com for this.
This is quite different. Often at a plenary there is a list of topics to be discussed. These can include organising, planning, feedback, brainstorming, networking, moral questions or anything else. Support is always needed! :)
You can send your texts or updates to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you prefer to manage them yourself, for example because you want to change your content frequently, please contact the same address. Your own account will then be created for you, giving you free access!
Do you live in East Germany and want to campaign for an end to the deaths at Europe's borders, Safe Harbours and reception, freedom of movement and solidarity? Are you wondering how we can achieve these goals and are looking for people to get active together? Or are you already organised and want to network your group with the Seebrücke in order to plan actions together? Then you've come to the right place. Feel free to send us an email with all your questions and ideas to email@example.com!
Actions can be demos, rallies, vigils, protest camps or infostands. There are also chalk or banner actions, presentations, discussions, film screenings or art installations. Especially during the pandemic, creative forms were found to express our concern symbolically, like putting shoes with information on the streets, folding little ships and hanging them with notes next to rivers, or putting up empty chairs as a sign of the people in the camps.
You can come up with anything you like - creativity is appreciated!
You have an idea? Think about what is needed to realise it and discuss these points with your comerates. In the first step, this means thinking about who the action should be from and for, deciding on a topic and defining a goal. It is essential to actively confront your own position, privileges and racism. This can quickly be mirrored in forms of action, for example when photos of people with refugee experience are shown without the consent of the individuals. In addition, a perpetrator/victim narrative of white people versus BIPoC and poverty porn would be reproduced.
More specifically, the date and time can be decided, material can be obtained or people can be contacted. To mobilise, you can make posters, hang up banners, write messages with chalk in your city and post digitally on social media and different distributors. Also let the people around you know individually!
Don't forget to enter your action in the action form so that it appears on the website.
If you have any questions, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
The working group Desintegration has written a statement on photo exhibitions and the use of photos in public actions/campaigns:
We as the Disintegration-AG have recently received an increasing number of enquiries regarding the discrimination-sensitive design of photo exhibitions on the topic of sea rescue and/or Moria, or have noticed that these photo exhibitions are being held in many different places.
We would like to give critical input on these exhibitions to the movement.
The following disclaimer is important to us: We cannot and will not ban any actions. You continue to decide autonomously as local groups which actions you will carry out or not. We only want to appeal to you to question and change certain things, because that is our task as a power- and discrimination-critical AG of the movement.
The photographers are mostly white-European photographers who travel to e.g. Moria (but also colonised and imperialised areas) and take photos there. Photo documentation of white people in colonised and imperialised areas or in areas like Moria is usually accompanied by the reproduction of white saviourism. If we look at the coverage of these photographers, the coverage reproduces this narrative: the photographer is portrayed as a rescuing, acting subject, the people he/she photographs as passive objects.
The relationship of the photographer as a white-European person with the people from Moria, for example, is also inherent in a relationship of power and dependency. In such a relationship, one cannot speak of consensual photos, especially (but not only) when it comes to photos of children. Here (in addition to the racist component) the personal rights of the people in Moria simply intervene. It is important to know that it is very problematic to buy/use pictures of a person where people other than the person from whom the pictures are bought/used are depicted in situations in which probably no person would like to be photographed. There is a clear difference here to images taken during, for example, a paid photo shoot, where people deliberately pose and have an overall influence on how and in what context the photo is taken and, for example, are contractually secured in how the images are further used.
We are so used to seeing BIPOC (Black, Indigenous People of Colour) in such situations that the question of the personal rights of these people is simply forgotten by the dominant society.
Please keep in mind that the exhibition of photos from sea rescue contexts and/or camps can be potentially retraumatising for affected people.
By exhibiting suffering, the action automatically targets a specific group and excludes another. Mainly white-European people are reached. BIPoC (especially those with a refugee biography), who could be triggered by these actions and/or no longer want to see the exhibition of suffering by BIPoC, are excluded as potential activists/visitors to our actions. This perpetuates white supremacy as saving subjects in the movement, doing activism for those affected rather than supporting those affected. It is so-called "othering", which is a racist practice (more).
Further, we would like to open the question of what such actions achieve, more than that the visitors of these events relieve their guilt because they were at the event. Photos like the one from Moria are seen all over society through news and social media. But most of the time, people still choose to go on living as before - the status quo remains unshaken. Such exhibitions create a kind of self-affirmation, in the sense of "how well we are doing here". This does not lead to questioning one's own position within the social structures that lead to inequalities and discrimination, but rather solidifies historically conditioned, unequal structures. Radical politicisation that tackles the problems at their roots cannot be expected from such actions.
Work on oneself/ further education/ radical discussion
We think it is important to plan actions on the issues and analysis listed above. This includes understanding how the conditions developed structurally in the first place. Reflection has to start with oneself and a deep, radical engagement with the unequal relations in which we move has to take place. This collective learning process is well suited to be carried outwards.
Recommendation of the working group
-> We would generally advise not to organise photo exhibitions of this kind!
We doubt that such photo exhibitions have an anti-racist effect and help us in our activism. As listed, they reproduce racism instead. The reproduction of racism is never justified and will never abolish racism.
If photo exhibitions should still take place, it is important that the pictures are taken by photographers with refugee biographies. Attention: the problem of personal rights still applies if people are recognisable in the pictures. Furthermore, in our opinion, it would be necessary that the pictures (selected under the critical lens of personal rights and authorship) only take up a small part of the action, while the action mainly deals with a profound, radical education about colonial continuities and how they lead to the situation in e.g. Moria. This must of course go hand in hand with an intensive examination of the issue by the activists themselves.
It may feel like "what else is allowed to do if something like this is supposed to be racist" or "I have absolutely no idea what forms of action are even okay". Of course: if these thoughts are consistently taken further, this excludes a large part of the usual Seebrücke actions. But instead of getting angry and feeling incapable of action, let's think about how we can plan and carry out deeper and more radical actions. For our goal - an anti-racist, humane and solidary society - this is inevitable!
Each city/municipality can declare itself a Safe Harbour - usually by means of a council vote. On the website we keep a list of all municipalities that have declared themselves Safe Harbours and meet at least one of our requirements.
The "Cities Safe Harbour Alliance" alliance networks Safe Harbours with one another. At meetings and through regular exchange, we plan with them how a solidarity-based migration policy can be politically implemented and enforced "from below".
In summer 2019, 13 cities founded the municipal alliance "Cities Safe Harbours Alliance" on the initiative of Seebrücke and the state capital Potsdam. Founding members are: Berlin, Detmold, Freiburg, Flensburg, Greifswald, Heidelberg, Hildesheim, Kiel, Krefeld, Marburg, Potsdam, Rostock and Rottenburg.
The cities declare their willingness to take in more people than they are allocated by the distribution quotas for refugees. And they are fighting for the right to finally be able to decide themselves on the admission of people - which they are not allowed to do under the current legal situation.
All cities, municipalities and districts that share the Alliance's goals can join the Alliance. At the Alliance meeting in October 2019, there were already 28 cities! On 19 November, at the invitation of Marburg's Lord Mayor Dr Thomas Spies, the 2nd working meeting took place with 77 member cities. The state capital Potsdam coordinates the alliance. If you are interested, please contact StaedteSichererHaefen@Rathaus.Potsdam.de.
However, joining is not a requirement to declare yourself a Safe Harbour.
Not every Safe Harbour is part of Alliance - but all members of the Alliance are Safe Harbours!
"Safe Harbours" is a campaign and Seebrücke is the political movement that launched it.
No, each city or municipal council can independently declare itself a Safe Harbour through a council resolution and decide which of the demands are already supported by them.
As the decision of a Safe Harbour is a process, it is not a completed and fulfilled task, but much more a first step. Through the declaration of willingness, a basis exists and the next goal is to enforce all demands. We are not satisfied with symbolic politics!
No, making a municipality or a country a Safe Harbour can be a project in its own right and does not have to be explicitly related to Seebrücke.
Thank you for donating!
The direct way to donate is here on the website via the form. Individuals can make a single or permanent donation, and you can also donate as a company.
If you would like to donate by bank transfer, please use the following bank details - please pay attention to the intended purpose:
Mensch Mensch e.V.
Mensch Mensch e.V. is the non-profit support organisation of Seebrücke.
To do so, select the option "Permanent donation" in the donation form. You can choose whether you want to donate monthly(, semi-annually) or annually. You can pause a permanent donation at any time or change the amount. Please contact us at email@example.com.
Payments by direct debit, instant bank transfer, PayPal and bank transfer order are currently possible.
Credit card payments are only temporarily not possible. We are working on making this payment option available again.
Payment via Apple Pay and Google Pay will also be activated in the near future.
With regular permanent donations, sponsors enable Seebrücke to plan for the medium term. Social and political changes need a lot of patience: let's be honest, the world will unfortunately not be a better place the day after tomorrow.
Seebrücke is financed exclusively by donations and grants. However, the funding programmes will expire in foreseeable future and until then we as Seebrücke would like to be able to cover the monthly running costs with the donations of the sponsors. Let's do it together!
For all questions regarding donations and finances, you can contact the fundraising team at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sometimes we receive a lot of emails, but you should get an answer within a few days.
For all other questions about the Seebrücke, you can also contact the general support at email@example.com.
Usually we send out all donation receipts for a whole year in February of the following year. It is regulated by law in Germany that a donation receipt is only necessary as proof for the tax office if the annual amount donated exceeds €200. For amounts below this, your bank statement is sufficient. In other countries, the regulations may differ: Please contact us if this is the case for you.
When filling out the donation form, please make sure to indicate your wish for a donation receipt if you would like to have one. If you need your receipt sooner than February of the following year, please also contact us.
The contact address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your commitment!
It's cool that you organised a fundraiser. Thank you! Seebrücke lives from the creativity of activists.
You have an idea, but would like some support? Then write to us with a short description of your idea. For whom do you want to collect donations? In which period should the fundraising campaign take place? Should the fundraiser be spread via social media? Is the campaign local or national? How do you want to motivate people to donate?
Seebrücke is financed exclusively through donations.
Seebrücke receives most of its donations through individual donations and fundraising campaigns, such as the winter fundraising campaign. We are very happy about the many individual donations, but their occurrence is strongly dependent on external factors such as media attention on migration policy issues. Planning is only possible for the Seebrücke with steady funding donations.
Thank you for your participation!
All local groups and active members of Seebrücke have the possibility to have their campaign costs reimbursed in consultation with Seebrücke office. Please contact us in advance at email@example.com.
We are all Seebrücke! It is best to order the materials yourself. Unfortunately, the office cannot provide nationwide ordering and shipping. Feel free to use the templates from the ActionKit for your order.
Of course you can also design new motifs yourself. Please make sure you use critical imagery. [Link to How To Image Language] Feel free to share the motifs with the entire movement! Send a template file to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Important! Please make sure to order and print regionally, ecologically and climate neutrally.
When placing your print order, please make sure to order and print as regionally, ecologically and climate neutrally as possible.
Some flyers require a specific fold with the corresponding number of pages. Please contact your local print shop for advice.
All local groups and active members of Seebrücke have the opportunity to have the printing costs for flyers, stickers, posters and banners reimbursed in consultation with Seebrücke office. Please be sure to contact us in advance at email@example.com.