Stop the Boats

The lie of saving lives at sea

The Australian government claims that pushing back refugee boats is saving lives. But their policy, Operation Sovereign Borders, is shrouded in secrecy. So what is really happening on the high seas, when nobody is watching?

We went to Indoneisa 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.

The filming

The film was shot in West Timor (the Indonesian part of Timor), Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK.

The interviews with the refugees had to be done in secret, after our team was denied access to the detention camp.


Stop the Boats made the news on top TV channels in New Zealand. Watch the coverage on TVNZ:


Stop the Boats: The Lie of Saving Lives at Sea premiered at the Nuremburg International Human Rights Film Festival in October 2017.

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© 2020 Yardstick Films Ltd

Yardstick Films is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee at Companies House (12884007).

Secret interview