Deaths at the Global Frontier

Controlling border crossing has become a prime concern under conditions of late modernity, leading western governments to introduce increasingly coercive control measures, ranging from visa regimes to military fortification.

Far from eradicating spontaneous border crossing, this ‘defensive geography’ has fuelled illicit people smuggling markets, and forced asylum seekers and illegalized travellers into increasingly hazardous journeys.

This project seeks to account for, rather than merely count, border-related deaths. It intends to shift the debate about contemporary border controls towards the acceptance of a more mobility-tolerant future.

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Project updates

  • The Border Crossing Observatory launched the ‘Count border deaths’ campaign in 2012 in an effort to raise awareness and apply pressure on the Australian Government to count and account for deaths in Australian immigration custody. A central feature of this campaign was to lobby the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) to include these deaths in ... Read more
  • Four years ago the Border Crossing Observatory launched the Australian Border Deaths Database recording all known Australian border deaths from January 2000-present. To date, 1,970 deaths have been recorded including deaths in onshore and offshore immigration detention centres, deaths at sea en route to Australia, deaths on return to country of origin following deportation and ... Read more
  • Reem Abu-Hayyeh from the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) provides an insight into the recent IRR report recording 160 border deaths in Europe after arrival in ‘Unwanted, Unnoticed: An audit of 160 immigration related deaths in Europe’. On 29 January 2012, Mohammad Rahsepar, an Iranian torture survivor, hanged himself from the window of his room in the Würzburg ... Read more
  • Humanising those who have lost their lives in the name of border security, a new cooperative project has emerged which shows plainly the cost of Australian border policies. Showing how each person lost their life, any biographical information which might be available, and any details which have been captured, this work puts a face to ... Read more
  • Part mapping platform, part reporter/monitor/information hub, and part legal action, Watch the Med’s (WTM) focus is the deaths and violations of migrants’ rights at the maritime borders of the European Union. Border deaths and missing people, distress calls, and interceptions are captured on their online interactive map in order to give a visual representation of ... Read more
  • A valuable and outstanding contribution to criminology were the parameters set forth by the Christine M. Alder book prize which was awarded to BOb’s Dr. Leanne Weber (middle) and Professor Sharon Pickering  (right) for their book Globalization and Borders: Death at the Global Frontier at the recent Australia New Zealand Society of Criminology Conference in Brisbane. Making ... Read more
  • Researchers from a variety of disciplines from Australia and overseas are currently gathered at a conference in Brisbane, Australia, aiming to reinvigorate the intellectual and policy debates about the link between social justice, social democracy and the reduction of harm, crime and victimisation. The 2013 Crime, Justice and Social Democracy Conference encourages researchers and policy makers to ... Read more
  • Late last year Professor Sharon Pickering and Dr Leanne Weber (both Directors and Researchers at The Border Crossing Observatory – “BOb”) published a book based on the findings of the BOb Deaths at the Global Frontier project. The project findings included the first ever list of deaths at the Australian frontier (“The Australian Border Deaths Database”). The ... Read more
  • Professor Sharon Pickering and Dr Leanne Weber (both Directors and Researchers at The Border Crossing Observatory) recently took a close look at The Coroner’s report into the 2010 Christmas Island boat crash (where at least 50 asylum seekers died), writing an article for The New Matilda. The Coroner found that “the disaster in this case was generally foreseeable and indeed ... Read more
  • Professor Sharon Pickering and Dr Leanne Weber (both Directors and Researchers at The Border Crossing Observatory) recently took a close look at the “Malaysia solution”, arguing that concerns about border control and death are disingenuous if they do not also take account of the available evidence on how border controls can increase risks of death, published in The ... Read more
  • Professor Sharon Pickering and Dr Leanne Weber (both Directors and Researchers at The Border Crossing Observatory) recently took a close look at the recent border-related deaths at Christmas Island, writing an article for The Age.   More barriers, more risk, and for the people smugglers more money. For every body washed up on the shores of the developed ... Read more