Deaths in controversial and contested circumstances include deaths in custody, immigration detention, health care, at borders and following disasters. In Australia, more than 400 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have died in custody since 1991. Since 2014, 12 people have died in offshore immigration detention on Manus Island and Nauru. Deaths in contested circumstances raise profound issues of accountability and justice for bereaved families, and persistent concerns remain about institutional responses within criminal justice, mental health and physical care.
In Australia and internationally it is evident that institutional responses to contested deaths are inadequate and fail to address families’ and communities’ demands for transparency, public scrutiny and accountability. The Guardian’s Deaths Inside database and the website Deathscapes are excellent digital initiatives dedicated to raising awareness. They have contributed to a growing, interactive public dialogue focusing on deaths in controversial and contested circumstances.
Our panel will reflect on these important initiatives, draw on established research, acknowledge the significance of community-based activism and focus on methods and practices for securing transparency as it considers the significance and impact of advocacy in obtaining justice.
This event was held at the University of Sydney on Monday 19 November 2018.
Image (at top): Marziya Mohammedali, Call Them Home, 2016. Photo: Michelle Bui.
Tuesday 20 November
In 2015 more Australian military personnel and veterans took their lives than were killed in Afghanistan during 13 years of war. Our expert panel brings together medical experts and social scientists to discuss the growing problem of military suicide - why is it happening and how should it be addressed politically?
Wednesday 21 November
Join us for the launch of the Sydney Social Sciences and Humanities Advanced Research Centre (SSSHARC). Our expert panel will discuss the role of humanities in addressing the 'post truth' crisis.
Tuesday 4 December
The New York Times best-selling author Robin DiAngelo considers why it is so hard for white people to talk about racism.