SOAS University of London

Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

‘Stop the boats’: Exposing Australia’s torture regime

Dr Nadine El-Enany and Dr Sarah Keenan

Date: 25 January 2017Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 25 January 2017Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G52

Type of Event: Seminar

This talk will examine the Australian government’s policy of detaining ‘unauthorised maritime arrivals’ in remote locations, providing an account of the policy's history together with a discussion of recent developments. This policy, originally called ‘The Pacific Solution’, involves the detention of people who attempt to reach safety in Australia by boat on remote Pacific islands, Manus, Papua New Guinea and Nauru in conditions found by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture to be in violation of the Convention Against Torture. Detained refugees are regularly subjected to violence, abuse, rape and sexual assault. Extreme self-harm and attempted suicide are common and four refugees (all under the age of 30) have died. We argue that the policy and its effects must be understood in the context of Australia’s history of exploitation and disposal of racialised people. We will discuss a number of creative actions resisting these policies including those carried out by anti-racist activists in London.

About the speakers

Nadine El-Enany and Sarah Keenan teach at Birkbeck School of Law, where together they direct the Centre for Research on Race and Law. Nadine teaches and researches in the fields of migration law, European Union law and criminal justice. She has published widely in the field of EU asylum and immigration law. Her current research focuses on questions of race and criminal and social justice in migration, protest and death in custody cases. Nadine is Chair of the Runnymede Trust Race Forum. She has written for Media Diversified, the Guardian, London Review of Books, Truthout, Left Foot Forward and Critical Legal Thinking. Sarah completed her BA/LLB(Hons) at the Australian National University and her PhD at the University of Kent Centre for Law, Gender and Sexuality. In her research on land and property regimes, Sarah draws on legal geography, feminist and critical race theory. She is an anti-racist writer and activist in London. Before coming to academia, she worked as a judge's associate in the Supreme Court of Queensland, and as a solicitor at Prisoners' Legal Service.

Organiser: Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

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