For a Humanitarian Asylum Policy in Europe

Humanity, Solidarity, and Voluntariness

The International Alliance of Safe Harbors (IASH) is a transnational city network of 36 European cities. As an alliance, we focus on European asylum and migration governance advocating for a more humanitarian approach and more legal migration routes. We are convinced that cities and municipalities are key players in achieving meaningful solidarity, successful relocation, and integration trajectories.

As European cities and communities, we have offered a new home to asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants for decades. We are unconditionally committed to humanitarian values, universal human rights, and the right to asylum, even in difficult times. We work to facilitate participation in decision-making at the European, national, and regional levels and advocate for European and national institutions to support our position as follows:

A right to asylum and no transit zones at the external borders

The European Union must ensure that the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) guarantees the individual right to asylum and fair and efficient access to swift asylum procedures for those seeking protection. All efforts shall prevent closed camp situations or transit zones at the EU’s external borders.

Facilitating direct municipal admission

Within the EU relocation mechanism cities and communities shall have the freedom to offer reception capacities independently. The distribution and relocation procedure should take family and other meaningful links of the asylum applicants into account.

Direct EU funding for host municipalities

The EU shall provide direct financial support to municipalities receiving and integrating refugees. Municipalities shall have the opportunity to participate in migration politics.

Strengthening solidarity

The EU shall establish a binding mechanism to ensure a fair sharing of responsibility and reception of refugees in EU Member States. Willing municipalities shall be enabled to offer additional admission capacities.

Legal migration paths for a pragmatic immigration policy

The EU shall strive towards a legal immigration policy that presupposes regulated asylum procedures and effective integration measures.

36 IASH Member Cities

Amsterdam, Athen, Barcelona, Bergamo, Berlin, Bonn, Braunschweig, Darmstadt, Dinslaken, Dormagen, Dortmund, Flensburg, Göttingen, Greifswald, Gütersioh, Heidelberg, Jülich, Kiel, Lampedusa, Leipzig, Mannheim, Marburg, Marseille, München, Münster, Northeim, Palermo, Potsdam, Pozzallo, Reggio Calabria, Rottenburg, Tirana, Trier, Utrecht, Villeurbenne, Würzburg

IASH “will help to build a European house based on a global strategy of solidarity, with one fundamental premise: to protect the life of every person forced to flee […] in accordance with common European regulations and on the basis of our shared European canon of values.”

Palermo Declaration (June 2021)
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