On 19 December 2008, approximately 150 undocumented migrants and solidarity activists occupied the Prediger Church in Zurich (Switzerland) for more than two weeks. The squatters demanded a just implementation of the hardship provision, the abolition of the prohibition of work and the legalization of the status of all undocumented migrants.
In 2007 and 2008, Switzerland implemented several stricter laws regarding asylum and foreigners. There's no social assistance for rejected asylum seekers anymore and the concerned persons are only entitled to receive emergency assistance. Its procedure, quantity and form is up to the cantons. The Canton of Zurich forces people to live on only 60 Swiss Francs (US$ 52) per week in coupons for the supermarket chain Migros. Some migrants are even forced to change their accommodation (emergency shelters) weekly.
Zurich is also very strict in the implementation of the so-called hardship policy. The provision for cases of hardship allows undocumented migrants, who have lived in Switzerland for at least five years and have "integrated very well" to file a request for a residency permit. After checking these requests, cantonal migration authorities forward them to the Federal Office for Migration (FOM). The Canton of Zurich, however, imposes extremely difficult conditions and didn't forward a single request to the FOM in 2008.
Activists of the Bleiberecht (Right to stay for all) campaign have already occupied a church in Zurich in 2007. During the last year, further protests and activities were organized. However, Zurich's asylum policy hasn't improved and in winter 2008, many people regarded a determined action as necessary in order to push their demands forward.
The film documents the occupation of the church. Undocumented migrants and activists of the Bleiberecht collective explain the current problems, their demands and further aspects of the occupation in detail. They tell of the negotiations with the Department of Migration of Zurich and evaluate the political results.
The 30-minute film was produced by several video activists with a-films, Bleiberecht Bern, Bleiberecht Zurich and Solidarité sans Frontières.
Further versions of this film and download links: