(11 September 2017) – Last Saturday, a group of 43 Emmaus ‘companions’ crossed the Strait of Gibraltar by swimming or kayaking in order to raise awareness about the deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean and to defend the principle of free movement. Several of them had already experienced this journey as migrants.
The initiative emanated from two members (‘companions’) of Emmaus working in the field, in direct contact with refugees. In 2015, while they were both based in Saint-Etienne, they decided to do something concrete.
Saturday’s event, which involved 35 kayakers and 8 swimmers, was named “Article 13”, in reference to Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country”. This has been a long time concern for Emmaus and for its founder, Abbé Pierre.
Several symbolic actions were also undertaken as part of the event, including the mounting of an open door on a Spanish beach, which symbolizes the welcoming of migrants. All those involved in the event also went to the cemetery in Tarifa, where many unnamed migrants are buried. (Le Figaro / Morocco World News)