Immediately following the first episode of Go Back to Where You Came From, Mark Davis presents a special episode of Dateline from Sri Lanka investigating the new wave of asylum seekers bound for Australian shores.
Asylum seekers from Sri Lanka are turning up on boats in Australian waters in ever increasing numbers. As the flow continues to climb, Mark Davis talks to some of the mostly young men boarding boats every day, driven by desperation to make the life-risking journey.
Davis joins the Sri Lankan Navy on patrol as they intercept yet another boat filled with people hoping to reach Australia and build a better future for their families, but finds many are travelling under the misconception that they’ll be warmly welcomed. Some even believe when they arrive they’ll receive a cash payment from the government.
Davis also meets people smugglers running an increasingly sophisticated operation, even providing receipts for those who have paid the estimated $2,000 AUD fee for passage, and say Australian legislation and the re-introduction of off shore processing will not deter them.
Also on Tuesday’s special episode of Dateline, video journalist Evan Williams travels to Tamil Nadu in southern India where the flow of Sri Lankan asylum seekers keeps coming. Around 140,000 Tamils are living here, too scared to return to Sri Lanka but with no prospects in India, with many desperate to make Australia their home. Among them, women and children left behind by men who went ahead to make a new life, but have not been heard from since.
While Sri Lanka’s war is over, Tamil refugees tell Williams they cannot return because they have lost their land and their homes, and fear for their safety. Instead, despite the risks of arrest and death, people here are so desperate they will continue to try, and tell Dateline that not even tough Australian laws will not stop them.
9:30pm Tuesday 28 August on SBS ONE.