Emmaus International

Two community leaders from Emmaus Saint-Etienne (France) have risen to a challenge that combines sporting achievement with activism. In August, they’re to cross the Gibraltar strait (Alain is to swim and Maria is to kayak) in memory of the migrants who have died in the Mediterranean. It’s also a protest against the recklessness of current migration policies. 

Current migration policies are repressive and short-sighted and are causing an immense amount of human suffering.  Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserts that “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each State” and “Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country”. However, current policies deprive some citizens of their right to travel or settle in the country of their choice in order to build a decent future for themselves.

A challenge that combines sport with activism

Maria Guerra and Alain Gomez, community leaders at Emmaus Saint-Etienne in France are to swim and kayak the Gibraltar strait, between 8 and 14 August 2015 (depending on the weather conditions). Both are to set off from Tarifa in Spain to reach the Moroccan coast, journeying the 20km that separate Spain from Morocco. This route from Morocco to Spain takes third place in the grim ranking of the deadliest routes to Europe for migrants.

150728 Traversee Gibraltar

Challenging opinion

With this symbolic action, they’re condemning the human tragedies occurring every day in the Mediterranean and the general indifference of States that are reluctant to find solutions. They’re also calling for the implementation of article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a Declaration that has nevertheless been signed since 1948.
This crossing of the Gibraltar strait has been dubbed “Article 13” and is being supported by Emmaus France and Emmaus International. It’s also received the thumbs up from artist and lone, activist sailor, Titouan Lamazou, who’s a holder of the universal citizenship passport, granted by the Organisation for Universal Citizenship. Maria and Alain aim to bring an end to the silently increasing numbers of deaths at sea, galvanise public opinion and push political decision-makers to favour a more humane approach, that’s more appropriate to the situation and fully informed about migratory questions.

150728 Traversee Gibraltar 2

How can I support article 13?

To get everyone behind this initiative and enable you to show your support, go to the specially dedicated blog where you can find a range of materials:

  • Download the avatar to fly the flag of article 13 on the social networks
  • Download the “article 13” origami paper boat. On the day, everyone’s invited to sail their paper boat on the stretch of water and post a photo on the social networks followed by #article13.
  • Follow Maria and Alain’s blog (in French) to read about their journey for a better world.

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