Solidarity City is a network of organizations and individuals formed at the end of 2015. Making Berlin a Solidarity City means securing access to city services for people with restricted or undocumented legal statuses.
We are inspired by the example of Solidarity or Sanctuary Cities in Canada and the U.S. and are developing a campaign in order to pressure the Berlin government to move towards equal rights.
We are an organization of migrants, refugees, or undocumented people, groups who are already providing services for people in precarious situations, and additional/other allies.
What is the Problem?
In Berlin, thousands of people do not have access to basic social, economic, and political rights, because they are denied the right of residence, let alone citizenship. Even a certain legal status, often acquired against all odds, does not protect you from further exclusion via illegalization and can still be precarious and temporary. A considerable part of our society is left to live second-class or precarious lives.
If you are in this situation, you are forced to work in illegalized, dangerous, under-paid, and informal jobs without access to basic rights (e.g. insurance in case of an accident) and without guaranteed legal access to labour rights. You cannot report racist or sexist discrimination, exploitation, and other crimes against you because you do not have any legal protection. Further education is out of reach.
There are a lot of problems with Berlin city services: Every institution requests documents that people without – or with a precarious – residency status do not have or are afraid to provide. Most of the time you simply will not get access to social or medical services. Often, you are confronted with a hostile bureaucracy that does not help you but even treats you in a humiliating way. If you are “undocumented” you run the risk of being convicted because of residency obligations, incarcerated, and/or in the worst case being deported. All of this is worsened by language barriers and a lack of effort by the institutions to provide sufficient information. Most people do not know about existing rights and services (for example, how to enroll their children in school) and therefore cannot exercise them.
Migration policies exclude a large number of people from active participation; they criminalize and marginalize a significant part of our society.
What Do We Want?
We want safe access to basic services such as:
- Equal legal treatment and protection from racist and sexist violence
- Labor Rights
- Electoral Rights (in municipal elections)
- Access to city administration services
Information about existing rights has to be made accessible. Discriminatory laws that pertain specifically to migrants have to be abolished.
We promote community building that is based on protecting and supporting each other.
Allowing everyone access to basic goods and services // a decent quality of life and city services creates a more democratic society in which everyone has equal rights. Let’s make Berlin a Solidarity City!