Skip to content Skip to navigation

Human Rights at the Border: Migrant Rights, Transitional Justice, and the El Paso Massacre

November 18, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm
Encina Commons, room 123

Camilo Pérez-Bustillo will discuss the implications of policies and practices implemented by the Trump administration at the border (militarization of the border, securitization of migration policy, criminalization and commodification of migrants and the intensified externalization and regionalization of these approaches) from a comparative perspective that includes the impact of equivalent policies at the borders of the European Union and Australia. This includes acts that must be understood as instances of torture and forced disappearances, with genocidal implications, pursuant to the Rome Statute and broader norms of international criminal law.

From this perspective, the mass shooting in El Paso in August 2019 should be understood as a massacre motivated by the racism and xenophobia of the policies, practices, and discourses pursued by the current administration. The massacre was then in effect the predictable, and thus preventable culmination of how these have unfolded. All of this triggers duties of transitional justice on both sides of the border, given the collusion, complicity, and thus co-responsibility between U.S and Mexican authorities (and also private actors) in carrying out this framework.

Camilo Pérez-Bustillo is a fellow at Stanford's Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, working on the defense of human rights at the U.S-Mexico border and beyond. This includes accountability for mass human rights crimes against migrants and indigenous peoples (e.g. family separation, the detention and deterrence of asylum seekers, and the persecution and death of migrants due to U.S policies). Pérez-Bustillo is also engaged with translations of work by Mexican/Argentine philosopher Enrique Dussel, Nicaraguan poet Ernesto Cardenal, and US anthropologist Christine Eber, and with a biography of Camilo Torres Restrepo, Colombia’s revolutionary priest. Pérez-Bustillo is former director of research and advocacy at Hope Border Institute; research fellow (University of Dayton School of Law); fellow, Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP) of the University of Bergen (Norway); adjunct professor, University of Texas-El Paso and New Mexico State University, and co-author with Karla Hernández Mares of Human Rights, Hegemony and Utopia in Latin America: Poverty, Forced Migration and Resistance in Mexico and Colombia (Brill 2016/Haymarket Books, 2017). Pérez-Bustillo has both U.S and Colombian nationality, and his family lives in Mexico City.

Event Sponsor: 
Center for Human Rights and International Justice
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: