Latest Case Studies

Moises Tino Lopez, a 23-year-old native of Guatemala, was being held in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility pending his removal from the United States. He suffered several seizures while in detention, the last two taking place in solitary confinement. Instead of taking him to a hospital so that he could receive proper care, jail and medical staff basically let him die.

Border enforcement agents beat and tasered Anastasio Hernández Rojas to death as they were deporting him to Mexico. Despite video and bodily evidence (the trauma of the beating was visible all over Anastasio’s body), the United States Department of Justice determined that the facts of the case did not support federal criminal charges.

This case study documents thirteen killings resulting from Australia’s program of offshore detention.  Under this policy, known as Sovereign Borders, asylum seekers who arrive in Australia by boat are forcibly confined in the former Australian-administered territories of Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. This form of indefinite detention offshore is held up as a means to ‘deter’ other would-be boat arrivals to Australia.

Those known to have died in offshore detention are Mohammad Sarwar, Reza Barati, Sayed Ibrahim Hussain, Hamid Khazaei, Omid Masoumali, Rakib Khan, Kamil Hussain, Faysal Ishak Ahmed, Hamed Shamshiripour, Rajeev Rajendran, a man from Bangladesh who has not been publicly named, Salim Kyawning and Fariborz Karami. These deaths reveal the violence inherent in the policy of ‘deterrence’. Australia’s instrumental use of its former colonial territories for ‘deterrence’ links its continuing assertion of sovereignty over the region with the continuing colonial violence within its official borders.



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The research on this website is primarily funded by the Australian Research Council, for the project ‘Deathscapes: Mapping Race and State Violence in Settler Societies’ under its Discovery Projects Scheme (DP 160100303).

In year 1 and 2 partial funding was received from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, Canada, for the project ‘Racial Violence in Settler Societies: An Interactive Multi-Media Site of State Violence Against Indigenous and Racialized Peoples’ under its Partnership Development Grants scheme (890-2014-002). CI: Professor Sherene Razack;  Community partners: Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto (Christa Big Canoe, Director);  African Canadian Legal Clinic  (Margaret Parsons, Director); Centre for Aboriginal Health Education at University of Manitoba (Dr Barry Lavallee, Director); Indigenous Social Justice Association, Sydney (the late Ray Jackson, founding Director).

We thank the School of Media, Culture & Creative Arts and the Australia-Asia-Pacific Institute at Curtin University for early development funding.

Thanks also to our design and development team (Tommy Segoro, Deanne Bowen and Claude De Lucia at Diversus and Jeffrey Effendi at DrawHistory) for their care, creativity and meticulous attention to detail.

Special thanks to Mike Sowerby of the Centre for Aboriginal Studies at Curtin University for his invaluable insights and advice in developing the courtyard garden.

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are respectfully advised that this website contains images of and references to deceased persons.

All viewers are respectfully advised that the site contains images of and references to the deaths in custody of Indigenous peoples, Black people and refugees that may cause distress.