Dying for Justice – Event 18 April 2015


A celebration of the work of A. Sivanandan and the Institute of Race Relations
  • Saturday 18 April 2015, 1-6pm
  • Room 421, Malet Street main building, Birkbeck College, (entrance on Torrington Square), London WC1

Including the premiere of the film Catching History on the Wing: a conversation with A. Sivanandan, the launch of IRR reports Dying for Justice and Unwanted, unnoticed on deaths in custody and migrant deaths in Europe, and roundtable discussions.


  • Registration (1-1.15pm)
  • Session 1 (1.15-2.30pm): The past: Thinking in order to do – an audio interview ‘On lived theory’ with A. Sivanandan; discussion with Colin Prescod and Jenny Bourne about the IRR’s historic struggle, followed by contributions from the floor.
  • Session 2 (2.30-3.30pm): The present: Why do we count deaths? – a roundtable discussion on structured violence and mortality led by Avery Gordon, with Eddie Bruce-Jones, Harmit Athwal and Frances Webber (presenting two new IRR reports Dying for Justice and Unwanted, Unnoticed) plus contributions from the floor.
  • Break (3.30-4pm)

To reserve a place email: events@irr.org.uk. Please note, because of ill health A. Sivanandan will not be attending the event in person.

Facebook event


The Institute of Race Relations has published a new report called Dying for Justice detailing the cases of 509 people from black, ethnic minority and migrant communities who have died in police custody since 1991. The report reveals patterns of neglect and violence which amount to institutionalised racism.

It concludes that
  • a large proportion of these deaths have involved undue force and many more a culpable lack of care;
  • despite critical narrative verdicts warning of dangerous procedures and the proliferation of guidelines, lessons are not being learnt; people die in similar ways year on year;
  • although inquest juries have delivered verdicts of unlawful killing in some cases, no one has been convicted for their part in these deaths over the two and a half decades of the research;
  • privatisation  and sub-contracting of custodial,  health and other services  compounds concerns and makes it harder to call agencies to account;
  • Family and community campaigns have been crucial in  bringing about any change in institutions and procedures.

DfJ OBC graphic