Go Back To Where You Came From Participants Encounter Isis On The Syrian Frontlines

New season also visits Baghdad, Myanmar and explores ‘statelessness’
Special three-night television event premieres
8.30pm Tuesday 28 July on SBS

Following the recent announcement of the return of Go Back To Where You Came From after three years, SBS reveals that participants in the new season visit Syria to witness what the UN calls the worst refugee crisis in 25 years – and come under fire by nearby ISIS insurgents.

Participants Kim (an anti-refugee campaigner), Andrew (an outspoken school teacher) and Nicole (a Nauru and Manus Island whistleblower) are escorted under security to the Syrian frontlines by Kurdish soldiers as they defend a village under threat by ISIS. Footage from the confronting event can be seen here: http://youtu.be/nMT6brB3pSI

Kim, Andrew and Nicole also visit Baghdad, Iraq in the new season – another country experiencing one of the world’s worst refugee crises.

Meanwhile, their fellow participants Davy (a former Vietnamese refugee who is anti-boats) and sisters Renee and Jodi (who have opposing views on refugee issues) follow the treacherous refugee journey of the ‘stateless’ Rohingya people. Rohingya are denied citizenship in their homeland of Myanmar and are considered by the UN as among the world’s most persecuted people – a plight that has only recently come to international attention.

The unique social experiment also gives the six ordinary Australians the opportunity to experience the Federal Government’s ‘Stop the Boats’ policy firsthand when they are transferred from a people smuggler’s boat to an orange lifeboat and turned back to Indonesia.

They meet with the residents of the world’s newest cities – refugee camps with populations in the thousands.

Tensions mount and relationships between the participants are tested as this intense journey pushes each of them, and their strongly held beliefs, to the limit.


Episode 1 – Tuesday 28 July at 8.30PM on SBS

Tempers flare early when the six Australians move in with refugees who were once ‘boat people’. Denied access, two of the participants get a bird’s-eye view of Wickham Point Detention Centre near Darwin before a fiery debate ensues outside its perimeter fence. Retracing their refugee hosts’ journeys, the participants travel to Indonesia where they board a fishing boat typically used by people smugglers and head for an unknown destination.

Episode 2 – Wednesday 29 July at 8.30PM on SBS

The six Australians get a first-hand experience of Australia’s ‘turn back the boats’ policy as they are transferred from a people smuggler’s boat to an orange lifeboat and turned back to Indonesia. Then they live with asylum seekers who have been turned back by the Australian navy. One group treks through the Thai jungle to discover how asylum seekers are trafficked and sold in to slavery. The other group visits the world’s newest city – a refugee camp built out of the Jordanian desert and home to more than 80,000.

Episode 3 – Thursday 30 July at 8.30PM on SBS

Following a reverse refugee journey, one group visits an unofficial camp housing many of the 140,000 ethnic minorities who fled their homes two years earlier. The series builds to a dramatic conclusion as the other group visits two of the most dangerous places on Earth and is fired at by ISIS insurgents. At the end of the journey the two groups are reunited in Cambodia to assess the impact of their experience.


Much has changed in the three years since Go Back To Where You Came From season two got the nation talking back in 2012. But with the introduction of the Federal Government’s ‘Stop the Boats’ policies, controversy surrounding detainee treatment in detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island, and a growing public awareness of ‘stateless’ asylum seekers, the issues are as important and divisive as ever.

The ground-breaking and multi award-winning SBS documentary series will again take six ordinary Australians on a reverse journey to retrace the steps of those seeking asylum.

Australia’s renowned academic on refugees, Dr David Corlett, will again oversee the unique social experiment, taking the six participants on a dangerous journey to experience life as a refugee firsthand. Eyes will be opened. Preconceptions will be challenged. Opinions will be changed.

The boats may have stopped, but the debate has not.

Go Back to Where You Came From was produced by CJZ for SBS. The previous seasons have won multiple awards, including two Logie awards for Most Outstanding Factual Program, a Golden Rose (Rose d’Or) award and an International Emmy Award for non-scripted Entertainment.

Teachers and students can join the journey online via the SBS Go Back Learn site featuring short clips, interactive multimedia, quizzes, related content and a Teacher Pack full of curriculum aligned activities for years 9-12.

The Classroom Resources have been tailored for use in English, Humanities, Social Sciences and the Arts. The Go Back Learn Resource invites you to journey with three of the participants (Nicole, Jodi and Davy) via short clips from the series in order to unpack themes ranging from human rights and statelessness to Australia’s migration history. Each clip is supported by a selection of curriculum-aligned classroom activities. Extension activities and non-curriculum learning for school camps are also included.

For Series 3, SBS Content Outreach has partnered with Australian Red Cross. The partnership has allowed a creative collaboration to produce Classroom Resources through the sharing of expertise, networks and resources. Classroom posters were delivered to every Australian secondary school in the lead up to broadcast. The online journey clips can be accessed immediately after broadcast of episode 3.

Additionally Australian Red Cross is hosting two major pre-screening/panel events in Sydney and Melbourne giving the opportunity for their members to meet some of the series participants.

To view the journey clips and download the Free Classroom Resources visit: www.sbs.com.au/goback/learn

Go Back to Where You Came From is a special television event screening across three consecutive nights on Tuesday 28, Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 July, at 8.30pm on SBS.

The series will be followed by a special forum episode of The Feed at 9.30pm, Thursday 30 July on SBS 2, hosted by Marc Fennell.

Join the conversation on Twitter and Facebook: #GoBackSBS

Written by Nick Craven