Cities ready to welcome: :253 Safe Harbours

Safe Harbours welcome refugees—and are ready to welcome more. Together, we can create a strong counter-voice to Europe’s isolationist policies.

Europe fails 

No one flees voluntarily: Wars, persecution, violence, poverty, and the climate crisis are forcing people to leave their homes. In search of a safe harbour, they embark on life-threatening escape routes—because there are hardly any safe routes into the EU. But instead of protecting people in flight, the EU is sealing itself off even more. It is investing more and more in so-called “border protection” and continues to stand by idly as refugees die—and not just in the Mediterranean.

We are opposing this inhumane policy with a clear plan: 

We are creating Safe Harbours for people in flight ourselves!

With pressure from the streets and personal commitment, we call on our cities and municipalities to declare themselves Safe Harbours and to fight for a humane migration policy. With great success: Berlin, Kiel, Dortmund, Munich, Magdeburg—already more than 250 communities and cities are involved. And the number is growing almost every day!

What is a Safe Harbour?

With “Safe Harbour” we have set in motion the independent protest of local politics. Today, mayors and city councillors are fighting for our goals. This strengthens our resistance and opens up new political opportunities.

Safe Harbours take on responsibility where politics fails:

On behalf of their citizens, they are demanding the decriminalisation of sea rescue and new governmental rescue missions. They welcome refugees into their midst—and are willing to take in more people than they are required to. Together, the Safe Harbour are a strong counter-voice to the German government's isolationist policies—loud, uncomfortable, and media-savvy.

Seebrücke-Congress “Safe Harbour. Cast off for municipal reception” on 13.06.2019 in Berlin © State Capital Potsdam/Santiago Engelhardt

But we will not settle for symbolic politics

Safe Harbours must use all of their political options to achieve real changes in migration and admission policies. Only this will bring about improvements for people in flight! That is why we are making concrete demands, so that Safe Harbours can change migration policy.

Our demands

Safe Harbours should stand up for new and stronger programmes that legally accept refugees—and make full use of their capabilities for helping people independently. They should clearly signal that they are ready to take in even more people. They should make all necessary resources available for the humane care and social participation of those arriving. And we want them to work vigorously to secure the prospects for those people to stay.

Not every city thereby supports all of our demands from the very beginning. We see the path to a Safe Harbour as a process. That is why we remain persistent and document the progress of the cities publicly on our website. Here you can find our complete list of demands.

Not only many cities, but also several federal states have declared themselves Safe Harbours. With them as our allies, we are taking our concrete demands to the federal government. Several states are currently trying to implement our demands at the federal level.

Municipal Reception

While nation-states across Europe continue to focus on isolation, countless cities and municipalities want to take in more refugees than they have been allocated. They demonstrate: we still have room! But as of now, they are still not actually allowed to put this into practice themselves. This is because it is always the nation-states that ultimately decide whether to accept refugees. And in Germany the federal government is stonewalling. That is how the Safe Havens are being blocked and can barely help refugees.

Seebrücke therefore wants municipalities to have self-determination in taking in additional refugees.

A migration policy based on solidarity must start with the municipalities: Only through close cooperation with local civil society can the democratic legitimacy of a politics based on solidarity and openness be ensured. In this way, we can ensure that the acceptance of people is understood and accepted as a task for society as a whole.

How does my city become a Safe Harbour?

We explain how your city can become a Safe Harbour.