Recent developments at Europe’s borders indicate a transformation of the forms of violence inflicted upon illegalised migrants from the Global South. During this event, organised by de Balie, Charles Heller (director of Border Forensics research and investigation agency) and Stefan Salomon (Assistant Professor of European Law at the European Studies Department at the University of Amsterdam) discuss how forensic practices are used to address these forms of violence, and explore their impact as well as the challenges that these challenges bring about.

This event seeks to account for the recent transformations of the forms of violence inflicted onto illegalised migrants from the Global South as they seek to cross the ever-shifting borders of Europe. The event focuses, on the one hand, on indirect violence, which can be seen in the deaths of migrants at sea and in the outsourcing of border control. On the other hand, the speakers point to direct and brutal modalities of violence, such as those perpetrated during push-backs across the perimeter of the EU’s external land borders. In his talk, Charles Heller discusses the challenges these distinct modalities of violence raise for documentation and accountability, which a critical forensic practice must address – if it ought to be able to effectively contest border violence in its mutating forms.