Migration & Discrimination
Worldwide, 125 million people have been displaced by conflict, floods, drought, hopelessness. Many are looking for protection and a better life. Through all kinds of routes, refugees find their way to Europe and to Barcelona, Naples, Athens, Amsterdam and other European cities.
As migration is a cross-border issue, a cross-border European urban migration pact between progressive cities is obvious. In this pact, the cities organise jointly lobbying the European Union for a so-called solidarity mechanism. For years, progressive cities have shown solidarity and a willingness to take in refugees. And specifically, the pact cities are developing community sponsorship - a model in which refugees find a safe place through resettlement and are enabled to connect with the neighborhood and the city, and integrate humanely into our society. Amsterdam is already making extra efforts, given the great need for safe havens for refugees.
In search of protection, many people roam Europe or wait years in leaky and overcrowded tent camps. In 2020, the European Union presented its new plans for a more effective and humane migration policy – unfortunately, the proposals mostly seem to act as a deterrent. For example, the Committee wants to strengthen border management and extend the detention of refugees at the borders. Member States must ensure screening at the border and may deviate from agreements on asylum procedures in crisis situations – all of which are more likely to see refugees face extraordinary procedures.
In 2021, negotiations between the European Parliament, the Member States and the European Commission will start: an opportune moment for progressive cities to show themselves as full and solidarity partners. For example, with an urban migration pact, a network of European cities as safe havens or other forms of organised solidarity
The community sponsorship model offers a way to ensure refugees can start their lives in the city in a decent and dignified way is. European cities could jointly explore whether a person might also obtain a safe place to stay in a secure way. For example, through resettlement or extended family reunification in Amsterdam, Barcelona or Berlin. Next, family members who have lived in Amsterdam for a long time and local residents are given a role in care and guidance. Such a 'route' ensures that a person can merge faster and more seamlessly into society and the local area, and integration hence becomes more meaningful.
Furthermore, Amsterdam must be a safe haven for journalists, writers, representatives of the LGBTIQ+ community, lawyers, artists and scientists who are confronted with human rights violations and are being persecuted in their home countries.