Philosophy

Human dignity is the central core of human rights. It is independent of gender, faith, ethnicity, nationality, and all other possible criteria and attributions. Therefore, every person in the world, regardless of any characteristics, deserves a decent life.

Migration is a consequence of the prevailing world economic system and great power politics. This destroys the traditional economic and social structures in some countries and leads to a policy of systematic human rights violations. For many people emigration is the only chance to survive. But already before and at the border to Europe they come up against a wall – barbed wire fences between Morocco and the Spanish enclaves, soldiers who shoot at the refugees, and the Mediterranean Sea, which by now unfortunately would rather deserve the name “Dead Sea”. If they still manage to enter the country, they come up against a wall of exclusionary measures.

Human rights are fundamental rights to which every individual is entitled. While the enjoyment of their rights is a matter of course for Swiss citizens, migrants often have to fight for the rights they are entitled to by virtue of being human. This is because human rights, which have found relatively great consensus in the international community in recent decades – as reflected in the ratification of various human rights conventions – are often at odds with national sovereignty. If, according to international treaties, human rights are indivisible, inviolable and inalienable, the principle of sovereignty gives states the power to divide people on their territory into different classes: Swiss and foreigners, EU citizens and third country nationals, migrant workers and refugees, foreigners with a settlement permit or residence status, people with a temporary residence permit and Sans-Papiers. This results in a hierarchy system, which is automatically accompanied by a loss of rights for the various categories: for example, only Swiss citizens are allowed to vote in referendums (even if the referendums deal with laws affecting foreigners), EU citizens have priority in the labor market over other nationals (with the exception of Swiss citizens), recognized refugees receive more social assistance than provisionally admitted persons in most cantons. The most difficult of all are the Sans-Papiers, whose rights are most severely curtailed. Especially for them, as well as for the other vulnerable (sub)groups, human rights are of particular importance in order to be able to guarantee them at least minimal protection – protection from starvation, a roof over their heads, medical care. Despite this protection, it is extremely difficult to get by. Various reports point to the precarious situation for rejected asylum seekers in return centers. In addition, there are sometimes significant (legal and financial) hurdles when it comes to claiming these fundamental rights.

Human rights are not bound to the residence status, but apply to all people everywhere. The Solidarity Network Berne is committed to ensuring that people without legal residency can also exercise their rights.