‪#‎BCNLampedusaLesbos

15 March 2016

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Refuge City

We aren't going to keep waiting. If the refugees aren't coming because of the inhuman policies of the EC and the Spanish State, the city will send help where it is most needed.

We signed some agreements with the mayors of Lesbos and Lampedusa today. Direct aid agreements, city to city, which include the possibility of sending specialists to cover the shortages these municipalities are facing. During the press conference it was emotional listening to how Lampedusa and Lesbos have had to face a situation beyond their powers and capabilities practically on their own. And how, despite the tragedy that has filled their beaches with corpses and their streets with thousands of people in transit, they were issuing a call to combat xenophobia, to lose our fear and show solidarity in governing the crisis. 

If this has not been an even greater tragedy, it has been thanks to the direct help of ordinary people, organised from below. To the inhabitants of the islands themselves, an example to the other cities in Europe. To the NGOs too, the volunteers, first aiders and health workers from other cities who, on their own account and at their own risk, have done what the states have been incapable of doing: save lives.

If the UE is working from above to fortify Europe, let's help one another, city to city, let's weave a network of municipalities from below that are the equal of their citizens. Let's unite against the imposition of any treaty that allows massive deportations and undermines the right to asylum. Such an agreement would not only go against international legislation but also, and above all, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the moral and human duty to help our fellow men and women. A duty that is above any law.

Finally, I want to send a message to the residents of Barcelona. For months now we have been listening to thousands of our citizens who want to help but don't know how to. We have just increased a fund to offer immediate help to organisations that are dealing with the emergency in the transit zones, from 100,000 to 300,000 euros. But we are also going to start to act by offering direct help from citizens to citizens: sending material, messages of support, etc.. Although it's obvious that this is not the solution (we've always said so) we won't refrain from doing something that could bring immediate relief and, besides that, send a powerful message to the world: when governments don't act, it's the people who save the people.

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This blog features ideas, thoughts and reflections on my daily life as the Mayor of Barcelona.

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