The Border Crossing Observatory is the only organisation to count border-related deaths in Australia through the development and maintenance of the Australian Border Deaths Database. The Australian Government does not officially count such deaths of asylum seekers. Established in 2000 by Dr Leanne Weber and Professor Sharon Pickering, and now hosted by The Border Crossing Observatory, the database aims to count and account for such deaths that have occurred since January 2000. The list is updated with reports of each border related death incident.
Border deaths counted under the Database include: drownings that have occurred at sea where boats have capsized or been lost at sea enroute to Australia; deaths that have occurred in immigration custodial settings including onshore and offshore immigration detention centres, where asylum seeker boats have been interdicted at sea by Australian border control authorities, or during pursuit or apprehension by police or Department of Immigration and Citizenship authorities; and deaths that have occurred on return following deportation from Australia.
Tragically, with two border deaths reported in the Australian media yesterday, the Australian Border Deaths Database has recorded a total of 1,621+ known border deaths as of May 2, 2013. The Border Crossing Observatory is determined and committed to have such deaths counted and accounted for, particularly in the absence of any official border deaths count.
Rebecca Powell is the Managing-Director of the Border Crossing Observatory.