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15 km

The news reached us the morning after the night of the 13th of May. A. had died trying to get into the camp of Miral, Bosnia. That same night he had decided to brave, probably not for the first time, the security fences that surround the camp to be able to take a “hot” shower. In his attempt to climb the fence, his feet failed to find enough support to jump over it and into the enclosure and he got stuck between two steel bars which made him suffocate to death.

Between those steel bars lies the life of a boy who lived a life full of unfairness. He carried with him a backpack full of miles, fears, rejection, abandonment, lack of security and hope.

His project towards prosperity was interrupted by something he didn’t have a choice on: being Moroccan. This prevented him from moving freely to wherever he wanted to go to find progress in his life.

He wanted to get to Europe.

Although we don’t know his personal motives, we have met thousands like him on this journey and we therefore know the obstacles he must have faced from the first moment in which he decided to leave his land and try his luck in a place where he could find work, settle down and find the stability he wouldn’t have probably found in his country of origin.

There is an invisible fence along the south of Europe that prevents the majority of people who migrate from achieving their dreams: visa issues.

The conditions that the administration puts in place for legal and safe migration routes are, for most, inaccessible. Because of this, many decide to risk their lives opting for deadly routes such as crossing the Mediterranean or the Balkans. The cost of a place on a weak dinghy to try and cross the less than 15 km that separate Moroco from mainland Spain have prices that many people not only can’t pay, but that also puts their lives in incredible danger. There is a more affordable way: getting to Turkey and, from there, try to brave each of the borders that separate them from their desired destination.

A. arrived in Turkey from Morocco and from there, his efforts to try to get to Europe did not fail until that terrible night on the 13th.

Having been so close to Europe, he was forced to take a route that diverted him thousands of miles from his destination, not only because the legal routes to enter Europe are almost non-existent, but also because the possibility of going through Ceuta and Melilla turns their journey into an odyssey of hostility from the police, life on the street, rights violations and numerous dangers to try and reach the European continent.

We keep asking ourselves how it’s possible that these murders are still happening, that Europe keeps silencing the realities of hundreds of thousands of people like A. How we can continue to live in peace while being all complicit in the fact that people like A. have had to live a reality full of panic, rejection, abuse, racism, criminalisation and abandonment.

We ask ourselves what needs to happen so that people like A. stop losing their lives far away from their homes and alone for the mere fact of having tried to improve their lives, having been less than 15 km away from continental Europe by sea.

We want to stop telling stories like A.’s, stop counting deaths of any kind along the European borders, and the only way to achieve this is to all join together to demand safe migration routes for all, because the right to a dignified life is a right for ALL.

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