6th of February 2021: International day of CommemorAction for people killed and missing on the migration routes

On 6th of February 2014, more than 200 migrants tried to enter the city of Ceuta, a Spanish enclave, from Moroccan territory through the beach of Tarajal. The Spanish Guardia Civil fired smoke cartridges and rubber bullets at the people in the water to prevent them from entering Spanish territory. Fifteen migrants were killed on the Spanish side, dozens disappeared and others died on Moroccan territory.

 

Since then, 6th of February has been declared a day of commemoration for the migrant people killed and disappeared on 6th of February 2014 between Tarajal and Ceuta and beyond for all migrants and refugees killed and missing in the seas, deserts, borders and migration routes.

 

A text on the meaning of the February 6 CommemorAction, published by Alarmphone Watch the Med.

A text by "Caminando Fronteras" on the stories of 14 of the 15 people killed on 6 February 2014 in Tarajal - people who had names, faces, relatives and dreams.

 

Despite the difficult and exceptional conditions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, on Saturday, 6th of February 2021, Transnational CommemorActions for those who died in migration took place in, among others, Agadez in Niger; Sokodé in Togo; Oujda and Saidia in Morocco; Dakar and Gandiol in Senegal; Madrid and other cities in Spain, Brussels and Liège in Belgium and Berlin and Frankfurt in Germany.

 

Agadez / Niger

Impressions from participants at the CommemorAction ceremony in #Agadez:

"Today, 06th of February 2021, we gather to turn our grief into collective action. We come from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and horizons. We are relatives of the disappeared from Burkina, Guinea, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Tunisia, Togo, Algeria, Morocco, Cameroon, Senegal, Syria, Mexico, Peru, Italy and from all over this world that belongs to us all. We come together to speak up against the deadly violence of border regimes from anywhere".

The APS Niger team carried out the following activities:

  • Reading of the declaration on the externalisation of borders and their consequences on freedom of movement
  • Screening of videos of migrant testimonies (in French and English)
  • Debate between participants on the daily experience of people on the move
  • Speeches by family members who have lost their loved ones
  • Words of migrants who witnessed atrocities during their travels
  • Projection of images in the desert of an unidentified migrant's grave for meditation

The day of 06th of February 2021 was rich in lessons because of the living testimonies. Only guests from the Malian community who had returned to Mali before the date of the commemoration, through IOM's "voluntary return" programme, were unable to attend.

 

Statement of the Alarme Phone Sahara Coordination in Agadez in Niger on the CommemorAction on 6th of February

"On behalf of all the members of the Alarme Phone Network, we would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all those who have come here to commemorate the deaths and disappearances caused by anti-migration policies. At this solemn moment, I ask those present to observe a minute of silence in memory of these victims of the cynical policies of externalisation of borders. Thank you!

Through our current action on this 06th of February 2021 and through many others taking place around the world, we show our dismay at those who have erected the borders that have killed and made human lives disappear.

For a long time now, we have been registering deaths and disappearances of human beings on Europe's external borders, in the Mediterranean, in the Sahara, or in detention centres in Europe, America and Africa that are designed to deter people from moving freely. We cannot forget those who have been killed, who have disappeared or who have been victims of enforced disappearance.

Putting an end to this ongoing massacre caused by the border regime of Europe and its henchmen from here and elsewhere is one of our motivations to be active together in a long-term struggle for freedom of movement and global justice.

On 06th of February 2021, we gather to turn our grief into collective action. We come from diverse cultures, contexts, and backgrounds. We are relatives of the disappeared from Burkina, Guinea, Gambia, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Tunisia, Togo, Algeria, Morocco, Cameroon, Senegal, Syria, Mexico, Peru, Italy and from all over this world that belongs to us all.

We are, in different environments, those who find human remains in detention camps, in the desert and by the sea, who try to identify the deceased in the different border areas, who give the nameless bodies a dignified burial. We are the ones who hold hands when we miss a parent, a daughter, a son, a sister, a brother, a friend, a spouse, a wife.

We come together to speak up against  the deadly violence of border regimes anywhere.

We come together to commemorate those who have died, disappeared or been victims of enforced disappearance in the Mediterranean, in the Sahara, in the forests, in the savannahs, in the mountains, in the prairies, in the watherholes, in the rivers, in the lakes, in the lagoons and in the trenches of shame, in the Maghreb, in Latin America, in the Evros region, in Calais, on the islands, on the hills and in the mountains.

We accuse and point out the perpetrators of these despicable acts, first and foremost the governments that decide to further restrict access to the routes by deterring people on the move by all means of repression in their possession.

For us, the commemoration of the dead, missing or victims of enforced disappearance is part of our daily struggles. This 06th of February 2021, it is already 6 years of sad and bitter memories. Indeed, you will remember that in 2014, the Spanish border police I have named the "Guardia Civil" massacred at least 15 people who were trying to cross the border to the enclave of Ceuta. To our mutual knowledge, their deaths have not been recognised as murders and the border officials involved have so far gone unpunished.

This massacre is just one example of the death and disappearance on the borders of Europe and elsewhere. Many thousands more people have lost their lives and are still perishing in the desert, at sea, at the borders, have disappeared or are victims of disappearances orchestrated by the forces of evil.

As a transnational alliance and through solidarity actions in many cities, we commemorate these missing lives and fight for a just world where freedom of movement will finally and truly be a fundamental human right as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in its article 13 which states: "Everyone has the right to liberty of movement (...), to leave any country, including his/her own, and to return to his/her country".

Those seeking to shed light on the consequences of the externalisation of borders gathered in large numbers in Oujda (Morocco) in 2020 to remember and discuss the tragedies that are beyond compare. This year, because of the Covid 19 pandemic, large gatherings are not advisable. But the celebrations of this date are taking place in a delocalized way throughout the world.

We want to make visible the daily struggles and suffering of people who cross borders. We want to create spaces of memory for the ongoing trauma endured by the parents and relatives of those who have lost their lives, disappeared or been victims of enforced disappearance. With the externalisation of the European border, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Niger are increasingly becoming Europe's border guards. This is why we need a strong mobilisation of activists and migrants on the ground.

We have already met in the past, we are meeting today and we will meet again in the future. We will not stop meeting, because the ongoing crimes against humanity mark so many days of the year with grief and anger that it is impossible to choose just one.

We will demonstrate on Europe's external borders, but also in many European cities (Ceuta, Berlin, Marseille, Milan, and others). We must act so that the perpetrators of violence lurking in the heart of Europe feel its effects.

With our 'Commemor'Action' concept, we are keeping a promise to never forget those who have lost their lives or gone missing. And we will fight against murderous border regimes. We will provide a space for commemoration and collectively build something out of our grief. We will not be alone and we will not give up. We will continue to fight for freedom of movement and human dignity for all in our daily lives.

  • We therefore invite everyone to remember the date of 06th of February as a global day of remembrance to commemorate those who have died, disappeared or been victims of enforced disappearances along borders around the world.
  • We invite you to send information about atrocities as a result of the policy of externalising borders.
  • We call on all direct or indirect victims to mobilise to speak up against this inhuman attitude of policies advocated by world leaders that restrict freedom of movement in defiance of all existing laws.
  • On the occasion of this 06th of February 2021, we pay a well-deserved tribute to all those who are mobilising night and day to make this world an area of peace and justice.

Long live international solidarity!
Long live freedom of movement!"

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Sokodé/Togo

Today we think of all people who migrate. We denounce the policy of deaths by the border regime:

 

The members of the ATE (TOGOLESE ASSOCIATION OF DEPORTEES) and the families met for CommemorAction activities:
1- Awareness raising among young candidates for migration on irregular migration through APS flyers.
2- Radio programme: causes and approaches to solutions to irregular migration.
3- Flowers dedicated to migrants who disappeared in the Na river in Sokode.

 

Declaration of 6th of February 2021 by the Togolese Association of Deportees (ATE):

 

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Berlin / Germany

In front of the "Bundestag", the German parliament in Berlin, several hundred people protested against deportations. Loud and clear: #Noborder #NoNation #StopDeportation

 

The protesters also called for: #SinkFrontex

#Frontex is becoming a supranational #police force, benefiting more and more from the budget and powers of the #EU, while becoming more violent and inhumane.
http://frontexfiles.eu

 

Comrade Oumaru recalled the "great injustice":

  

"The deliberate letting African and Arab people die in the Sahara and the Mediterranean. "If the white people died, the whole world would tremble." A North American is called an "expat" and a black (African) is called a "migrant". We are equal in dignity with all others, and this third millennium is also our millennium, and I cannot spend it stigmatised as a victim. We are now in a global world where a European works in Africa, an African works in Asia and an American works in Europe - and this can never change!".

 

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Oujda and Saidia / Morocco

Alarmphone Watch the Med, in collaboration with local initiatives, organised a Caravan in Oujda with an exhibition & presentation by students on migration. A commemorative ceremony was organised in the coastal town of Saidia. There, there was also a meeting with families & friends of the disappeared:

           

For a decolonial, anti-racist, solidarity-based Europe with freedom of movement for all!
#commemoraction #AbolishFrontex

 

Statement by Alarmphone Watch the Med for the CommemorAction in Oujda and Saidia, 6th of February 2021:

"We will fight together against the borders that killed them and made them disappear!

For a long time now, we have been confronted with deaths and disappearances of human beings at Europe's external borders - in the Mediterranean, in the Sahara, or in European detention centres that are designed to deter people from leaving. We cannot forget those who have been killed, who have disappeared or who have been victims of enforced disappearance. Putting an end to this ongoing massacre caused by Europe's border regime is one of our motivations to be active together in a long-term struggle for freedom of movement and global justice.

On 6th of February 2021, we will come together to turn our grief into collective action. We come from diverse backgrounds and backgrounds. We are relatives of the disappeared from Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Cameroon, Senegal, Syria, Mexico, Peru and elsewhere. We are those who find human remains in the desert and the sea, who try to identify the dead in the different border areas, who give the nameless bodies a dignified burial. We are the ones who hold hands when we miss a daughter, a son, a sister, a brother, a friend.

We come together to speak up against the deadly violence of the world's border regimes. We come together to commemorate those who have died, disappeared or been victims of enforced disappearance in the Mediterranean, the Sahara, the Evros region, Calais, Moria and elsewhere. We accuse the perpetrators of murders: Governments that decide to further restrict routes and deter migrants by all available means, not forgetting the threats and crimes committed by the European border and coastguard agency "Frontex".

For us, the commemoration of the dead, missing or victims of enforced disappearance is part of our daily struggles.

On 6th of February 2021, it will be 7 years: in 2014, the Spanish border police (Guardia Civil) massacred at least 15 people who were trying to cross the border to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. So far, their deaths have not been recognised as murders, and the border officials involved have gone unpunished. This massacre is just one of many examples of death and disappearance at European borders. Several thousands of other people have lost their lives in the desert, at sea, have disappeared or are victims of enforced disappearance.

As a transnational alliance and through solidarity actions in many cities, we commemorate these missing lives and fight for a just world where freedom of movement will finally and truly be a basic human right.

We have gathered in Oujda, Morocco, to remember and exchange. We want to make visible the daily struggles and suffering of people who cross borders despite the "Covid 19" pandemic. We want to create spaces for the ongoing trauma endured by the parents and relatives of those who have lost their lives, disappeared or been victims of enforced disappearance. With the externalisation of the European border, Morocco is increasingly becoming Europe's border guard. This is why we need a strong mobilisation of migrant activists on the ground.

We have already met in the past, and we will meet again in the future. Next time we will meet in a different place and on a different date, because the ongoing crimes against humanity mark so many days of the year with grief and anger that it is impossible to choose just one.

We will meet and protest on the external borders of Europe, but also in many cities in Europe (Ceuta, Barcelona, Berlin, Marseille, Milan, Brussels, Paris, Andalusia and others) and in Africa (Oujda, Layoune, Tangier, Agadez, Dakar, Niamey and others). We must bring violence back to its source, to the heart of Europe.

With our term "Commemor'Action" we offer a promise: we will not forget those who have lost their lives or gone missing and we will fight against murderous border regimes. We will offer a space for commemoration and collectively build something out of our grief. We will not be alone and we will not give up. We will continue to fight for freedom of movement and human dignity for all in our daily lives.

We therefore invite everyone to organise initiatives in their cities to make 6th of February a world day to commemorate those who have died, disappeared or been victims of enforced disappearances along the borders of the world.

On the missingattheborders.org web page, we'll publish all the events that are taking place."

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Dakar / Senegal

Facing the policies of death, the "Boza Fii" initiative organised a sit-in under the slogan "Tarajal 2021 - NO FORGETTING - NO FORGIVENESS" on the Corniche of Dakar - Guediawaye.

               

Boza Fii declares:

"These missing people have given us a lesson in life & we would like to say that to forget them is to kill them a second time.

In memory of those who did not arrive.

It was not an accident, it was not a tragedy. It was 145 rubber bullets fired by the Spanish police at migrants who were in the water. It was a political assassination, the murder of 15 companions who were disobeying the institutional racism regime.

Justice and reparation. #TARAJAL!"

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Gandiol / Senegal

As part of the 8th edition of the March for the Dignity of Migrants, a tribute to the fifteen victims of the tragedy of 6th of February 2014 at Tarajal Beach (Ceuta) and to all those people who lost their lives trying to reach Europe was organised at the Aminata Cultural Centre in Gandiol. The activities: Screenings and historical remembrance, discussions, reading of the manifesto, minute of silence, music performance.

     

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Brussels, Liège, Louvain-la-Neuve and Libramont / Belgium

On 6th of February 2021 the collective "Abolish Frontex" responded to the call of the AlarmPhone network by taking part in the World Day for the Dead, the Disappeared and the Victims of Enforced Disappearances at Sea and on the Borders by organising actions in several cities in Belgium.

  • A poster action in Brussels and Liège - including a poster in commemoration of Semira Adamu, a Nigerian woman murdered by Belgian police officers on 22nd of September 1998 during deportation, and Mawda Shawri, a 2 year old child murdered by Belgian police officers on 17th of May 2018 by shooting during a hunt for so-called "clandestine" migrants.
  • A public reading of the "list of the dead" published by United for Intercultural Action simultaneously in 4 Belgian cities: Brussels, Louvain-la-Neuve, Liège and Libramont.

      

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"March for Dignity" in Madrid and many other cities in Spain

On 5th and 6th of February 2021, demonstrations of the "Marcha por la Dignidad" (March for Dignity) in commemoration of the 15 people murdered on 6th of February 2014 in Tarajal took place in Madrid and many other cities in Spain.

  

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Frankfurt / Germany

In #Frankfurt, demonstrators gathered this year in front of the Spanish consulate to commemorate the 15 deaths of #Tarajal on 6th of February 2014, a day on which the murderous border regime of #FortressEurope showed its hideous and deadly face.

#Tarajal2021
#TarajalNoOlvidamos