Barcelona beach covered with clothes in memory of 2,600 refugees drowned in Mediterranean 

Open Arms staged a symbolic shipwreck to protest the staggering number of deaths

The symbolic shipwreck staged by Open Arm
The symbolic shipwreck staged by Open Arm / Open Arms
Catalan News

Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

December 11, 2023 03:11 PM

December 29, 2023 04:04 PM

Barcelona residents awoke on Monday to thousands of pieces of clothing and shoes in the Sant Sebastià beach. The protest was staged by the NGO Open Arms to pay tribute to the 2,600 people who have lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea this year. 

The Catalan organization, which does search-and-rescue missions at sea, staged this symbolic shipwreck to draw attention to the staggering number of people who die each year trying to reach Europe, and to emphasize the human lives behind those numbers. 


Oscar Camps, Director and Founder of Open Arms, said nearly 30,000 people have died in the Mediterranean over the past eight years, calling it a "structural holocaust." 

"We cannot ignore the reality of those who flee in search of refuge, only to find danger, the sea and Europe's indifference," he said. 

The symbolic shipwreck staged by Open Arms
The symbolic shipwreck staged by Open Arms / Open Arms

Coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Open Arms condemned European policies for failing to provide safe and legal means to refugees crossing the perilous waters of the Mediterranean, which they say leads to many deaths.  

"Europe should stand out for its commitment to protecting life and defending fundamental rights, not be so close to complicity and death, so far from the Christmas values we all cherish: hope, generosity and solidarity," Camps said reflecting on the upcoming holidays.  

According to the Missing Migrants Project, 28,259 people have lost their lives in the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe since 2014. This year alone, the toll stands at 2,510 lives have been lost.