The symbolic start
Munich was the first city in Germany whose people said “Yes”. On the occasion of the 850th anniversary of the city in 2008, the Save Me campaign was founded. It was initiated by an alliance of the Bavarian and Munich Refugee Councils, Kammerspiele München, Refugio and many other supporters. Save Me requested that the city council would decide on the admission of 850 refugees and show in this way that a complementary admission of refugees in Germany is intended. As the program is first of all financed by the municipalities, the support of the cities is a clear signal in particular. In order to make a contribution rather than only placing requests, the Save Me campaign agreed to look for 850 mentors who would welcome the refugees in Munich.
The first decision of the city council
The call of the Save Me campaign fell on fertile soil: the Munich city council did not only decide in favor of the campaign and the admission of 850 refugees, but Christian Ude, mayor at that time, also used his entire political influence and requested a future permanent participation in the UNHCR resettlement program by the German Federal Government.
Request for a decision of the city council in 2008
Increasing number of Save Me campaigns
The successful initiative in Munich has set a precedent. By now, there are local campaigns in more than 50 municipalities and administrative districts, from A like the city of Aachen to W like the Werra-Meißner district. Their goal is to persuade the municipalities to take a decision that supports the admission of refugees. More than 40 of them have already agreed to the admission of refugees by such decision. Among these supporters, there is also one administrative district, namely North Frisia. Schleswig-Holstein and Rhineland-Palatinate have even taken decisions supporting the admission of refugees that apply to the entire Federal Land.
The decision of the Conference of the Ministers of the Interior
On December 9, 2011, the German Minister of the Interior at that time, Hans-Peter Friedrich, announced that Germany would from 2012 participate in the resettlement program of the UN Refugee Agency, initially in the context of a three-year pilot program. In the first three years, 300 refugees with special protection needs were admitted per year. The positive decision of the Conference of the Ministers of the Interior was a big success for our campaign. After the successful completion of the pilot program, the German Federal Government decided to continue its activities in the field of resettlement.
Since 2015, Germany has been admitting a quota of 500 refugees each year. But considering the enormous demand, this is still far from enough! Therefore, the Save Me campaigns are currently intensifying their activities in advocating a notable increase in the number of resettlement refugees in Germany in the future. For Germany, this would only be a small step, but it would be a giant stride towards actual protection of refugees.