Justice & Peace wants to see a world in which all refugees have safe access to protection and a community in which their human rights are respected and where they can build a new life. According to recent UNHCR estimates, worldwide over 79.5 million people have been forced to flee due to the threats of war, persecution or climate change. In recent years, we have seen a diminishing willingness of European governments to receive refugees in their countries. Yet, on the local level in the Netherlands, we have seen many expressions of solidarity with refugees: Dutch people have been signing up to be a volunteer and many new initiatives emerged to welcome refugees. From 2016 to 2019, we organised local Welkom Hier (Welcome Here) festivals across the Netherlands to bring all these people and initiatives together to support each other and to create a platform to amplify their welcoming messages.
Empowering local solidarity
We realise that local solidarity and active citizenship are key to foster welcoming communities, advocate for refugees’ rights and create durable solutions for global refugee protection. That’s why today, Justice & Peace is introducing Samen Hier, the first community sponsorship model in the Netherlands. The diverse variants in countries like Canada, Germany, Italy or the United Kingdom, showcase how this model can bring together citizens, civil society and (local) state authorities, and mobilise the widespread support base for complementary refugee reception and empower citizens to contribute to a more humane migration and refugee policy.
When I heard about Samen Hier I saw it as the perfect continuation of Welkom Hier. I believe in the concept, because that’s also what I hear from the people I work with. Everybody longs for that network, that social group around you that you can rely on. © IVO DE BRUIJN
Implementing partner of Samen Hier Haarlem