Stop the boats — the lie of saving lives at sea
|Stop the Boats — The Lie of Saving Lives at Sea|
|Directed by||Nicolai Jung|
|Produced by||Phil Miller|
Stop the Boats — The Lie of Saving Lies at Sea is a 2017 film focusing on the 'turnback' operation of one boat, the Andika, by the Government of Australia in May 2015 that was heading to New Zealand. It is the only film dealing with 'turnback' operations of Operation Sovereign Borders. The film was co-produced by Nicolai Jung and investigative journalist Phil Miller.
Synopsis[edit | edit source]
The film documents the journey of one refugee boat that attempted to travel to New Zealand but was intercepted by Australia as part of Operation Sovereign Borders. The film makers went to Indonesia to interview refugees pushed back by Australia. They accused Australian officials of bribing people smugglers, putting their lives in danger and thwarting their safe passage to New Zealand. Underpinned by stills and videos from the journey, expert and witness interviews and statements by officials involved, the film reconstructs the ill-fated journey of the refugees and gives a unique insight into Australia's anti-refugee operations from the perspective of the refugees themselves.
Filming[edit | edit source]
The film was shot in West Timorr (the Indonesian part of Timor), Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the United Kingdom. The interviews with the refugees had to be done in secret, after the film makers were denied access to the detention camp.
Release[edit | edit source]
The film premiered at the Nuremburg International Human Rights Film Festival in October 2017. It was also screened at special event by Medico International on the 14th of November 2017 and Sea Watch on the 7th of November 2017. It was screened at Unite Union in New Zealand in 2019 and was also selected to be screened at the Marxism 2019 conference in Melbourne Australia.
Press coverage[edit | edit source]
Background[edit | edit source]
The subject of the film generated considerable media coverage after it emerged that a payment was made to the crew while the boat was turned around. This information was revealed by Indonesian police on the 1st of June 2015. The following day media in New Zealand asked the Prime Minister John Key for comment, and media in Australia asked Prime Minister Tony Abbott for comment.
According to an Amnesty International report the boat had a credible chance of arriving in New Zealand however it was intercepted by Australian authorities outside of Australian jurisdiction. The Andika had 65 passangers (54 Sri Lankans (Tamils), 10 Bangladeshis, one person from Myanmar) and five additional crew.
The boat departed from Indonesia on the 5th of May and was first intercepted by Australian forces on the 17th of May 2015, and again on the 22nd of May when the refugees were removed. They were sent back on two less seaworthy boats, and shipwrecked off Rote Island, Indonesia on 31 May 2015.
On the 2nd of June 2015 New Zealand Prime Minister John Key was asked about the situation in the New Zealand media. He said if one boat made it New Zealand "it would open up a pretty easy pathway to replicate". In one interview he would not say which New Zealand authorities first found out about the boat, or whether New Zealand's spy agencies had been involved, saying it was "a while ago, but I can't really go into all the details for some obvious reasons, but yeah, I knew some time ago." In another interview however he said they had been advised "a couple of weeks back" about the sea-worthiness of the boat to reach New Zealand and was getting daily updates from "ODESC [Domestic and External Security Committee]". Labour politicians attacked Key in parliament for scare-mongering denying the possibility of the boat arriving
The Green Party raised the possibility that the New Zealand intelligence agencies the Government Communications Security Bureau and New Zealand Security Intelligence Service had been involved in tracking the boat and if so were “complicit in violating international law, the Refugee Convention and ignoring the UN’s criticism of Australia".
Newspaper editorials strongly criticised the operation and called from PM John Key to distance the government from likely payments made by Australia to the ship to the ships crew to be turned around. This was also raised by Michael Timmins. Former Green MP Keith Locke raised the incident "raises the question of whether the Australian navy is under instructions from the New Zealand government to intercept any such boat and send it back to Indonesia." 
Ahead of the 2017 general election a number of MPs and activists signed an open-letter calling on the government to bring the passengers of the Andika to New Zealand to have their asylum claims assessed in New Zealand And campaign in 2019 called on Jacinda Ardern to resettle the remaining Andika refugees.
[edit | edit source]
- Stop the Boats – The Lie of Saving Lives at Sea official website at Yardstick Films
- Stop the Boats – The Lie of Saving Lives at Sea on Film Freeway
- Stop the Boats – The Lie of Saving Lives at Sea on IMDb
References[edit | edit source]
- "About". Phil Miller. 2014-10-04. Retrieved 2019-05-02.
- "Nuremberg International Human Rights Film Festival". Retrieved 2019-04-29.
- "Stop the Boats - the lie of saving lives at sea - Terminkalender - 14.11.2017". medico international (in Deutsch). Retrieved 2019-04-30.
- "Sea-Watch", Wikipedia (in Deutsch), 2019-04-22, retrieved 2019-05-02
- "Sea-Watch e.V. · Zivile Seenotrettung an Europas Grenzen". Sea-Watch e.V. (in Deutsch). Retrieved 2019-05-02.
- "Film "Stop the Boats" - Abschottungspolitik made in Australia • Sea-Watch e.V." Sea-Watch e.V. (in Deutsch). Retrieved 2019-05-02.
- "Stop the boats: The real story of operation Sovereign Borders". www.marxismconference.org. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
- "'Don't come back' Aust navy tells Sri Lankan asylum seekers". TVNZ. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
- "Refugees detained trying to reach NZ". Newshub. 2016-02-15. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
- "Australia turns back asylum-seeker boat: Indonesia | World | Dunya News". dunyanews.tv. Retrieved 2019-04-26.
- "Australia turns back asylum-seeker boat: Indonesia". ph.news.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2019-04-26.
- "Migrant Crisis: Thai General Suspected of Human Trafficking". Radio Free Asia. Retrieved 2019-04-26.
- Qldaah (2015-06-13), Retno Marsudi responds to 'cash for turnbacks' - PM John Key confirms boat headed for NZ, retrieved 2019-05-02
- Qldaah (2015-06-12), Cash for turnbacks: Tony Abbott says, "We stop the boats by hook or by crook", retrieved 2019-05-02
- Qldaah (2015-06-14), Did the Prime Minister of Australia Tony Abbott have knowledge of cash for turnbacks?, retrieved 2019-05-02
- Amensty International. October 2015. By Hook or By Crook: Australia's Abuse of Asylum Seekers at Sea, pp.14-24.
- Young, Audrey (2015-06-01). "People-smuggling boat headed for NZ shores". The New Zealand Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
- "PM says boat people able to reach NZ". Radio New Zealand. 2015-06-02. Retrieved 2019-04-26.
- "People-smuggling boat 'credible risk and threat' to NZ". Stuff. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
- Paul Henry (2015-06-02), John Key: Plans in place for illegal migrants, retrieved 2019-04-22
- "Hipkins, Chris: Budget Debate - New Zealand Parliament". www.parliament.nz. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
- "Ardern, Jacinda: Electronic Monitoring of Offenders Legislation Bill — First Reading - New Zealand Parliament". www.parliament.nz. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
- "Are our spy agencies stopping asylum seekers". Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand. 2015-06-03. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
- "Editorial: Clear signals needed over people trafficking". Stuff. Retrieved 2019-04-26.
- "Paying off the people smugglers « The Daily Blog". thedailyblog.co.nz. Retrieved 2019-04-26.
- "NZ should have no truck with Abbott's bribery « The Daily Blog". thedailyblog.co.nz. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
- Tuesday; March 2017, 7. "Open letter on asylum-seekers | Scoop News". www.scoop.co.nz. Retrieved 2019-04-22.
- International Human Rights Association Bremen. "Calling on Jacinda Ardern to resettle the Andika refugees | IMRV". Retrieved 2019-05-02.
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