Foreign Correspondent

“Many program episodes for the current season have already been shot, and we are also able to revisit and update previous stories,” ABC said in a statement.

“As a result, we can confirm Foreign Correspondent will be completing its full season this year. There is no suggestion of the program being cancelled.

“We’re also talking to all our international correspondents about keeping them safe in their posts or facilitating getting them and their families back home temporarily.”

The Singapore Solution

Tuesday 31 March at 8pm

While the world shuts down in an effort to control the coronavirus pandemic, Singapore is more or less business as usual. Its schools and universities remain open and its restaurants and malls are operating – albeit with fewer customers.

So how has this Island State kept the new coronavirus under control, despite its strong business and cultural links with China?

As we find out in The Singapore Solution, the country was well prepared with a pandemic response plan. Once the world learned of this new coronavirus in December last year, the government acted on it.

Like many Asian countries, Singapore learned about the power of pandemics the hard way. When the deadly SARS (Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome) virus spread through north Asia seventeen years ago, governments were unprepared.

SARS killed hundreds of people across Asia, including thirty-three people in Singapore.

“We’ve been preparing for this since SARS … this is something that is firmly etched in Singapore’s medical history,” explains Australian doctor Dale Fisher, an infectious diseases expert who is based in Singapore and is now part of the team battling the coronavirus.

To beat COVID-19, the Singaporeans have set up a network of clinics where symptomatic people can seek advice and if necessary, get sent for testing. Those who are positive are quarantined and tightly monitored.

Singaporeans are being asked to download a tracing app onto their phones. Those who are infected are subject to the “contact tracing” system, where health officials track down all those who’ve had contact with them.

Penalties for breaching these orders can be harsh. “If … they’re caught … there are jail terms,” says Professor Dale Fisher.

Other measures include temperature checks outside public buildings and schools – those with a high temperature must go home – and clear public health messaging and information.

While the measures might evoke fears of a “surveillance state”, they have been successful in flattening the rise of infections. The key to success has been to act fast and comprehensively.

Despite their success so far, authorities remain vigilant. As Singaporeans flock home to escape outbreaks elsewhere, the number of cases has begun to rise again. The government is tightening its policies and already the pandemic plan is being updated. Critics are asking if it’s enough.

Atom Hunters

Tuesday 7 April at 8pm

It’s a mission six years in the making. A top team of scientists from the USA and Australia are finally realising their dream: they’re heading to a remote corner of the Antarctica to execute an ambitious plan.

They want to drill hundreds of metres deep into the earth’s frozen past in a bid to illuminate its not-so-frozen future.

“We need to see how the atmosphere has handled the emissions that we have thrown at it,” says CSIRO’s Dr David Etheridge.

The team’s destination is Law Dome, a mountain of ice holding a precious, pristine climate archive stretching back over 80,000 years.

To reach the site, the scientists must first haul hundreds of tonnes of equipment on sleds 130 kilometres from their base at Casey Station, then set up a high-tech lab for three months on ice.

Their quarry is tiny: individual atoms that should reveal the truth about the “detergent of the atmosphere”.

“It really is a question of increasing the sum of human knowledge … in terms of climate science and ultimately the future of our planet,” says Dr Andrew Smith from Australia’s nuclear research organisation ANSTO.

Film-maker Dr Richard Smith has embedded with the scientists – and his brother Andrew – recording them as they carry out extraordinary work in the most extreme of environments. They endure snow blizzards and ferocious winds, lose weeks of precious research time in weather lockdown, camp in freezing temperatures and (almost) run out of clean socks.

“I don’t want to just come down here for a jolly. Spend three months of my life toiling away drilling ice,” says glaciologist Dr Peter Neff. “I want to do it so that we have the best information … with what we can expect from the atmosphere and its influence on us as people living on Earth.”

They’re mining for air as old as Ned Kelly and Edison’s light-bulb. It will be taken back to Sydney for analysis at ANSTO where the team hopes it will reveal whether the planet is winning the battle to clean its atmosphere.

“This is certainly a very unique and a very difficult experiment that we’re undertaking,” says the understated Dr Smith. “It may not work.”

The War on Afghan Women

Tuesday 14 April at 8pm

Some two decades ago, it would have been unthinkable; the United States making a peace deal with its arch enemy in Afghanistan. But after years of war, thousands of American lives lost and a presidential election on the horizon, the US government and the Taliban are making a ‘peace deal’.

The pact will pave the way for the withdrawal of American troops and open the door to the Taliban’s return to power.

But where does this leave one of the groups who suffered deeply under the Taliban’s brutal rule, Afghan women?

When the Taliban were in power, they denied Afghan women the most basic human rights: the right to go out alone, the right to go to school and work, even the right to show their face in public. If they broke these rules, they were flogged and sometimes executed.

Many Afghan women now fear that when the US leaves, the Taliban could join the government and re-impose its tyrannical form of Islam on the people.

Reporter Karishma Vyas goes to Afghanistan to investigate how Afghan women view the possible return of the Taliban.

‘As an Afghan, I’m shocked. The Americans introduced democracy, human rights, women’s rights to us, and encouraged us to defend them’, says Laila Haidari, who works in the streets of Kabul helping drug addicts. “But they’re telling us that now the Taliban is legitimate? How has the Taliban changed?”

Vyas meets some extraordinary women doing extraordinary work: a defence lawyer who represents women, a social worker and a young girl who fears the Taliban will kill her for leaving her violent marriage. She hears how hard the women of Afghanistan have fought to win back some freedoms, and how afraid they are of losing them again.

“We’ve gambled with our lives, minute by minute. Why? Because we want women to have a place in society”, say Haidari.

While the Taliban assure western leaders they’ve changed, this story exposes a different reality. We show mobile phone pictures of women being publicly lashed for singing and dancing and hear of others being beaten or gunned down over accusations of adultery.

As well as the possible return of the Taliban, there’s another enemy on Afghanistan’s horizon: COVID19. There’s a fear that the tens of hundreds of migrant Afghani workers returning home from Iran will spread the virus throughout the country. It may delay the US-Taliban peace process, but it could be devastating for ordinary Afghanis.

Covid Ground Zero

Tuesday 21 April at 8pm

The Big Apple is in bad shape.

It’s the epicentre of the US fight against the corona virus outbreak. Its people are in lockdown while frontline services wage war against the pandemic.

With around 10,000 deaths estimated to have been caused by the virus, New York City accounts for over a third of all corona-related casualties in the US.

Every day, there are hundreds of new infections and deaths. The city’s hospitals are overflowing, health workers lack medical and protective equipment and morgues have run out of space.

Foreign Correspondent’s reporter Karishma Vyas, a New York resident, goes behind the lines of the city’s battle to slow infections, save lives, protect its vulnerable and bury the dead.

We follow paramedics as they respond to emergency house calls, helping desperate families. We discover many who die of COVID -19 don’t make the official death toll.

We film with the police union as they hand out desperately needed personal safety equipment to their officers.

“I thought I’d seen it all on September 11th, but I’ve never seen anything like this. We’re anticipating this getting even worse. So that’s why we’re trying to get this equipment out to our guys”, says a Union officer.

We speak with an ICU nurse who’s travelled from out of state to lend a hand in a Bronx hospital. He tells us about working double shifts, often with no break, and the pressure of looking after multiple critically ill patients at the same time. A good day is when none of his patients die.

One overworked doctor describes his frustration with the US health system.

“I’ve had people come in barely breathing and their first question isn’t ‘Am I going to survive?’ It’s ‘How is this going to impact my family financially?’”

“This illness exposes all the fault-lines throughout American society”, says the doctor.

We meet a restaurant owner in Chinatown who’s transformed his floundering business into a lunch delivery service for frontline health workers.

And we catch up with characters who embody the city’s spirit of defiance and survival.

“I want to be remembered as someone who never left the frontlines and who was essential”, says the Naked Cowboy, a performer whose stage is Times Square - rain, hail or coronavirus.

This is an intimate and powerful portrait of a city in crisis.

Watch Covid Ground Zero on Foreign Correspondent, Tuesday 21st April at 8pm on ABC + iview

A New Crusade

Tuesday 28 April at 8pm

When Poland’s Archbishop of Krakow talks about fighting a plague, he’s not talking about the new coronavirus. He’s talking about gay rights.

“A certain ideology is a threat to our hearts and minds…so we need to defend ourselves just like against any other plague,” says Archbishop Jedraszewski.

In the 1980s Poland played a central part in liberating the world from communism. Now there’s a push to wind back many of those hard-won freedoms.

The Catholic church and the Polish government are forming a holy alliance, joining forces to denounce Western-style liberalism as the new enemy.

“From the very beginning the history of the Polish state and Polish nation were connected with the history of Christianity,” says Archbishop Jedraszewski.

In today’s Poland, the church is supporting government moves to discriminate against gay people, wind back sex education and outlaw abortion.

But feminists, gays and liberals are fighting back.

Foreign Correspondent’s Eric Campbell reports on a deeply divided nation in the throes of a culture war.

He meets the Archbishop of Krakow who likens gay activists to the much-reviled Soviets who occupied Poland after the Second World War.

“This time it is not a red but a rainbow plague,” says Archbishop Jedraszewski.
Regional governments across Poland have declared about a third of the country ‘an LGBT free zone’.

Eric interviews critics of the current government, including Lech Walesa, the father of Polish democracy, who warns “our Constitution is being broken, the separation of powers has been violated and we have to do something about it.”

He meets a gay mayor in a small town who says the rhetoric from church and state is leading to an “increase in hatred spreading against homosexual people.”

And he films at a far-right rally in Warsaw where Catholic extremists are co-opting the church in their bid to push their nationalist agenda and vision of Poland as a new theocracy.

While many Poles believe a religious revival will lead their country to the light, others fear it is opening the gates to something darker.

Revolution in the Time of Corona

Tuesday 5 May at 8:00pm

This is not your typical revolution. It’s not just a group of young idealists pushing for the stars.

The revolution that has filled Lebanon’s streets for months on end has broad-based support.

Young and old, rich and poor, Muslim, Christian and Druze are united in their desire to overthrow their corrupt and incompetent leaders and save their country and themselves from economic collapse.

After decades of neglect, the country is on its knees. There’s hyperinflation, currency collapse, high unemployment, constant power cuts and people going hungry like never before.

And now the country is dealing with the new coronavirus.

In a rollercoaster ride, Beirut-based correspondent Adam Harvey lived through months of protest and weeks of lockdown and has documented it for Foreign Correspondent.

Adam meets ordinary and extraordinary Lebanese who are struggling to survive and desperately trying to save the country they love.

There’s Rima, the owner of a once-grand now crumbling hotel in the country’s east, a former haunt of kings, queens and presidents.

Today tourism has dried up and the hotel is struggling. Rima spends her time organising food handouts for hungry neighbours.

“The corruption…has eaten up the Lebanon we’ve known and we’re all trying to save it”, she tells us.

He meets Tarek, the star of Revolution TV who’s live-streaming the protestors’ every move for his popular YouTube channel.

“It’s very sad what’s happening but Beirut will never die. Beirut will get sick…but Beirut will survive.”

There’s Tala, a young DJ and part owner of Beirut’s biggest nightclub. Instead of spinning discs, she’s in lockdown, worried about her country’s future.

“Right now, our country has sunk so low…and it will be very, very hard to come back from that.”

And we meet unemployed Imad Awad, who doesn’t have enough money to pay for heating or his wife’s medicine.

The coronavirus is putting more pressure on a country already in strife. But it can’t kill the revolution. As the lockdown lifts, the protestors are coming back.

“We want action now. We want to see a result immediately on the streets for the people - otherwise there is no country”, warns Tarek.

In a visually arresting story, we meet four Lebanese from different walks of life, all united in their desire to bring their country back from the brink.

The War Next Door

Tuesday 12 May at 8:00pm

Just north of Australia a secret war is being fought. West Papuan independence fighters and Indonesian security forces are involved in a protracted and bloody battle over the issue of Papuan independence.

The conflict escalated after young West Papuan fighters killed Indonesian road workers building a highway into Papua’s central highlands.

The Indonesia government hit back hard, deploying hundreds of police and military who attacked the region in an effort to root out the rebels.

Last year mass protests broke out, with civil resistance leaders from in and outside West Papua calling for freedom from Indonesia.

With foreign media largely shut out, the story of this unfolding humanitarian disaster remains untold.

Hundreds have died and local officials estimate that over 40 000 people have been displaced. There are allegations of torture and human rights abuses.

Foreign Correspondent has been able to report from inside the conflict zone, gaining access to exclusive pictures of the recent unrest and speaking to eyewitnesses of the violence.

“I have to yell out to the world…because if I don’t, we’re going to be weaker and the indigenous people will be wiped out,” says one West Papuan highlander, who’s looking after children orphaned in the recent fighting.

“We will not retreat. We will not run. We will fight until recognition dawns,” says a member of West Papua’s young guerrilla force whose ranks include teenagers orphaned in the ongoing conflict.

“Dialogue is needed but dialogue which is constructive,” says Indonesia’s former Security Minister. “We have closed the door for dialogue on a referendum. No dialogue for independence.”

Sally Sara reports on a war with no end in sight.

The World’s Biggest Lockdown

Tuesday 19 May at 8pm

“We are very worried about the lockdown. I can’t even get my daughter’s milk for her … She says, “Mummy I want milk” Where do I get her milk from?’”

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the world’s biggest lockdown, he gave the nation of 1.3 billion people only four hours’ notice.

He unleashed one of the biggest mass migrations in his nation’s history and left the poor in the cities with no means of earning an income or feeding their families.

Tens of millions of migrant workers, who’d moved to the cities to find work, lost their jobs, their wage and their shelter overnight. To find food and shelter, hundreds of thousands hit the road to head back to their villages.

In a bid to stop the exodus of people and the virus to the countryside, governments cancelled trains and buses, and closed state borders. Many kept walking anyway, often trekking hundreds of kilometres to get home.

While the government has tried to help those in need by providing food and financial aid, not everyone has benefitted.

Foreign Correspondent’s Emma Alberici tells the story of how the poorest of Indians are coping with this nation wide shut down, and asks, is the cure worse than the disease?

We speak to families living in the slums of Mumbai and Delhi.

“They tell us to wash our hands, change our habits. Where do we have the means to change our habits?” says a desperate father in Delhi, whose family shares one tap with 20 others.

“People are left to fend for themselves and you find migrant labour which is actually creating wealth for Mumbai are thrown under the bus,” says a lawyer who works with residents of the Dharavi slum in Mumbai.

We spend time with one of India’s top investigative journalists Barkha Dutt who’s made it her mission to shine on a light on India’s most vulnerable.

“If the lockdown has indeed worked…then a disproportionate amount of that price for keeping the country safe has been paid by the poorest Indian citizens,” says Dutt.

We speak with the government who says if it hadn’t locked the country down, the virus would have spread and ‘it would have led to a catastrophe’.

Celebrated author and activist Arundhati Roy observes, “The poor have been excised from the imagination of this country…This corona crisis sort of exposes the bare bones of what’s going on.”

Carry On COVID

Tuesday 26 May at 8pm

The coronavirus pandemic has hit Britain hard. More people have died than in any other European country.

Its economy has had a shock too, with the Bank of England forecasting the country will now enter its deepest recession in three centuries. Unemployment is set to more than double.

Carry On Covid takes a snapshot of England through the lockdown, canvassing pub owners, school principals, carers, students and experts, from the south to the north, about their fears and hopes for life after corona.

When London publican Viv Barrett closes for the lockdown, she wonders whether she’ll ever re-open. Before the crisis, British pubs were already closing at a rate of 14 a week.

“We may not survive which means this industry will go under, which means the breweries will go under…and if it’s closed, where do these people meet?”

As school principals send their students home, they worry about the long-term effects.

“The impact on the children of the absence from school is going to be massive… these children will probably be labelled in some way as the coronavirus group of children.”

With more than a million school children relying on free school meals, the principal of a London high school worries many will now go hungry.

“The most vulnerable in society are going to be seriously affected by this virus and there is really no clear plan as to how we support them through this.”

In the country’s north, plans to revitalise the local economy are grinding to a halt.

“What we need to avoid is a coronavirus crisis that actually deepens those inequalities that we see in the country”, says one Labour MP from the north.

Emerging from his own battle with corona, Prime Minister Boris Johnson believes the country will be changed, for the better.

“We will come back from this devilish illness. And though the UK will be changed by this experience, I believe we can be stronger and better than ever before, but also more generous and more sharing.”

Presented by ABC London correspondent Samantha Hawley.

The Doctor vs The President

Tuesday 2 June at 8:00pm

Dr Anastasia Vasilyeva is an unlikely threat to Russia’s most powerful man.

A single mother in her 30s, Dr Vasilyeva is an eye doctor who’s set up a doctors’ union.

But Dr Vasilyeva has been getting under the Kremlin’s skin, provoking vicious attacks by President Putin’s supporters.

“You are lying all the time. You are a group of liars…Do you even understand anything in virology?” rants a state TV presenter. “You are an alliance of crooks, scoundrels, villains and bastards.”

“I’m only telling the truth…and all my sentences, all my words, I can prove with the facts”, says the doctor.

Dr Vasilyeva’s union - the Alliance of Doctors - is raising money to buy and deliver protective equipment to hospitals around the country.

Her message of a health system under pressure is at odds with the Kremlin’s line that everything is under control.

Just two months ago, President Putin dismissed concerns about an epidemic, calling it ‘fake news’.

The pandemic wasn’t part of President Putin’s plans this year. He’d called a referendum which he hoped would install him as president until 2036.

But as the number of Russians infected by the virus sharply rises, Putin has had to cancel the vote. He’s struggling to keep control of the narrative. And the doctor.

Reported by former Russia correspondent Eric Campbell, Foreign Correspondent has gained rare access to film with Dr Vasilyeva and her team, as they travel around Moscow and beyond to deliver PPE to hospitals.

We see her get arrested and imprisoned. And we see her slandered by State media.

Today Russia has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world but in Moscow and other cities, the lockdown is starting to loosen.

Dr Vasilyeva warns the danger is far from over, with the virus taking off in the regions. She and her team continue to make deliveries, despite the abuse and the threats.

This is a compelling and disturbing insight into Russian politics in the time of Putin.

Watch The Doctor vs The President at 8pm on Tuesday 2 June on ABC TV, iview and streaming on Facebook and YouTube.


Pirates Of The Caribbean

Tuesday 9 June at 8:00pm

Next week on Foreign Correspondent … an old scourge has returned to trouble the Caribbean. Pirates are back in the waters off Trinidad and Tobago, this time from the collapsed state of Venezuela.


Stolen Children

Tuesday 16 June at 8:00pm

‘It’s a way to break a family, break a person, break a society by taking their most loved members.’ Human rights worker.

At the age of 8, Alis Sumiaputra was plucked from the streets of his village in Timor- Leste by an Indonesian soldier and taken to West Java.

The soldier adopted the stolen child into his family, converted Alis to Islam and changed his name. Eventually, Alis took over the family farm. His Timorese family was never mentioned. Until, in 2019, a woman called Nina came looking for him.

Like Alis, Nina Pinto was stolen from Timor-Leste as a child. She was sexually abused by the soldier who took her and treated like a servant by his family.

“All I could do was cry. I longed for my family. But I couldn’t do anything. I was helpless”, says Nina.

At age 17, she ran away and later managed to reunite with her Timorese family. Now she’s helping people like Alis connect with their birth families.

Nina and Alis are among an estimated 4000 Timorese children who were ‘stolen’ from their homeland after Indonesia occupied Timor-Leste in 1975.

In the early chaotic days of the invasion, the soldiers took the children opportunistically. Later, children were taken as part of a state-sponsored mission by Indonesia to educate and ‘civilise’.

“Maybe in the beginning, there was a feeling of trying to save children who were perhaps separated from their families’, says Galuh Wandita from the NGO, Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR). “Later on, there were religious institutions that were involved.”

AJAR is now tracking down Timor’s ‘stolen children’ and helping reunite them with their birth families.

In a powerful and moving journey, Indonesian correspondent Anne Barker follows Alis and a group of Timor-born adults as they return to their country of birth to reunite with their families.

For Alis, there is pain, guilt, joy and an awakening.

At his parents’ graveside in his village, Alis, whose birth name is Kalistru, bows his head and weeps.

"My dear father. My dear mother. When you died, I wasn’t here. I am your son, Kalistru Momode, asking for forgiveness.”

“This was one of the most moving stories I’ve ever covered. The moment we landed at Dili Airport I had a lump in my throat as I watched the emotion of those ‘stolen children’ on board who were returning to their homeland for the first time in decades. I only hope that thousands more will have the same chance that Alis and Nina have had.” Anne Barker, the ABC’s Indonesia correspondent

The Doctor vs the President

Tuesday 2 June at 8pm
03virus-russia-superJumbo

Dr Anastasia Vasilyeva is an unlikely threat to Russia’s most powerful man.

A single mother in her 30s, Dr Vasilyeva is an eye doctor who’s set up a doctors’ union.

But Dr Vasilyeva has been getting under the Kremlin’s skin, provoking vicious attacks by President Putin’s supporters.

“You are lying all the time. You are a group of liars…Do you even understand anything in virology?” rants a state TV presenter. “You are an alliance of crooks, scoundrels, villains and bastards.”

“I’m only telling the truth…and all my sentences, all my words, I can prove with the facts”, says the doctor.

Dr Vasilyeva’s union - the Alliance of Doctors - is raising money to buy and deliver protective equipment to hospitals around the country.

Her message of a health system under pressure is at odds with the Kremlin’s line that everything is under control.

Just two months ago, President Putin dismissed concerns about an epidemic, calling it ‘fake news’.

The pandemic wasn’t part of President Putin’s plans this year. He’d called a referendum which he hoped would install him as president until 2036.

But as the number of Russians infected by the virus sharply rises, Putin has had to cancel the vote. He’s struggling to keep control of the narrative. And the doctor.

Reported by former Russia correspondent Eric Campbell, Foreign Correspondent has gained rare access to film with Dr Vasilyeva and her team, as they travel around Moscow and beyond to deliver PPE to hospitals.

We see her get arrested and imprisoned. And we see her slandered by State media.

Today Russia has the third highest number of COVID-19 cases in the world but in Moscow and other cities, the lockdown is starting to loosen.

Dr Vasilyeva warns the danger is far from over, with the virus taking off in the regions. She and her team continue to make deliveries, despite the abuse and the threats.

This is a compelling and disturbing insight into Russian politics in the time of Putin.

Pirates Of The Caribbean

Tuesday 9 June at 8:00pm

In the tropical waters around Trinidad and Tobago, pirates are making waking waves again, with a recent spate of kidnappings, shootings, robberies and even murders.

Marlon Sookoo, a fisherman from a sleepy village on the southern tip of Trinidad, has first-hand experience of how ruthless the pirates can be.

“They hold you. Some take you for ransom. You have to pay the ransom otherwise they will kill you. Some will take the boat and engine and throw you out.”

He’s one of a number of seafarers who’ve been attacked in recent years, a result largely of the collapse of the neighbouring state of Venezuela, which has left millions of its citizens desperately poor.

Foreign Correspondent reporter Andy Park visits this tiny Caribbean nation during its peak party season, the riotous festival of Carnival.

While there’s much cause for celebration, he finds the laid back, self-proclaimed “rainbow people” of Trinidad and Tobago struggling to cope with the fallout from Venezuela’s failed state.

Famous for cricket and calypso, the tiny islands are dealing with an increase in illegal migration, gang crime and also, piracy on-sea.

Kennier Berra Lopez is also a victim.

A Venezuelan refugee in Trinidad, Kennier arranged for his family to escape their country by boat but pirates intercepted them at sea and now Kennier’s family have disappeared.

“I don’t think Carnival is a happy time. All the time, day and night. I still have faith that [my family] are going to appear,” Kennier says.


Stolen Children

Tuesday 16 June at 8:00pm

‘It’s a way to break a family, break a person, break a society by taking their most loved members.’ Human rights worker.

At the age of 8, Alis Sumiaputra was plucked from the streets of his village in Timor- Leste by an Indonesian soldier and taken to West Java.

The soldier adopted the stolen child into his family, converted Alis to Islam and changed his name. Eventually, Alis took over the family farm. His Timorese family was never mentioned. Until, in 2019, a woman called Nina came looking for him.

Like Alis, Nina Pinto was stolen from Timor-Leste as a child. She was sexually abused by the soldier who took her and treated like a servant by his family.

“All I could do was cry. I longed for my family. But I couldn’t do anything. I was helpless”, says Nina.

At age 17, she ran away and later managed to reunite with her Timorese family. Now she’s helping people like Alis connect with their birth families.

Nina and Alis are among an estimated 4000 Timorese children who were ‘stolen’ from their homeland after Indonesia occupied Timor-Leste in 1975.

In the early chaotic days of the invasion, the soldiers took the children opportunistically. Later, children were taken as part of a state-sponsored mission by Indonesia to educate and ‘civilise’.

“Maybe in the beginning, there was a feeling of trying to save children who were perhaps separated from their families’, says Galuh Wandita from the NGO, Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR). “Later on, there were religious institutions that were involved.”

AJAR is now tracking down Timor’s ‘stolen children’ and helping reunite them with their birth families.

In a powerful and moving journey, Indonesian correspondent Anne Barker follows Alis and a group of Timor-born adults as they return to their country of birth to reunite with their families.

For Alis, there is pain, guilt, joy and an awakening.

At his parents’ graveside in his village, Alis, whose birth name is Kalistru, bows his head and weeps.

"My dear father. My dear mother. When you died, I wasn’t here. I am your son, Kalistru Momode, asking for forgiveness.”

“This was one of the most moving stories I’ve ever covered. The moment we landed at Dili Airport I had a lump in my throat as I watched the emotion of those ‘stolen children’ on board who were returning to their homeland for the first time in decades. I only hope that thousands more will have the same chance that Alis and Nina have had.” Anne Barker, the ABC’s Indonesia correspondent

No Justice, No Peace

Tuesday 23 June at 8:00pm

“We are in a state of emergency. Black people are dying in a state of emergency,” says activist Tamika Mallory.

Pictures of a white Minneapolis police officer killing unarmed black man George Floyd provoked an immediate and furious response.

Angry protests demanding an end to entrenched racism erupted in scores of cities across America.

Floyd’s last words ‘I can’t breathe’ have become a rallying cry.

White and black, young and old, across 50 states, have protested peacefully against police violence and racism.

There’s been looting and destruction too.

On display for the world to watch has been the often violent police response the protestors are fighting against.

Galvanising this mass outpouring of rage and grief is the Black Lives Matter movement, formed seven years ago after the killer of an unarmed, black teenager was acquitted.

Foreign Correspondent’s Sally Sara looks at how what began as a hashtag has transformed into a global force pushing for justice and equality for black people.

We revisit the people she met in her Black Lives Matter documentary five years ago and takes the temperature of the nation after an extraordinary fortnight of protests and finally, some change.

We speak with Tamika Mallory, the activist who delivered what’s being called ‘the speech of a generation’ days after Floyd’s death.

“We cannot look at this as an isolated incident. The reason buildings are burning are not just for our brother George Floyd,” she told the Minneapolis crowd.

They’re burning down because people here in Minnesota are saying to people in New York, to people in California, to people in Memphis, to people across this nation, enough is enough.”

We interview Art Acevedo, the Houston Police Chief who told President Trump to ‘ shut his mouth…because you’re putting men and women in their early 20s at risk.’

Acevedo tells Foreign Correspondent he understands the anger. “ It’s about how he died. And he died at the hands of a police officer in circumstances where it should’ve never happened.”

And she catches up with Baltimore photographer Devin Allen five years after a death in custody of a young black man in that city triggered violent riots.

You got to release that rage. It has to happen”, says Devin, but that’s just the first step.

“What’s important is when the smoke clears, that’s when the real work actually begins.”

Foreign Correspondent has changed its episode order with show No Justice, No Peace to be shown tonight.

Tonight, Tuesday 16 June 2020

No Justice, No Peace

Foreign Correspondent’s Sally Sara looks at how what began as a hashtag has transformed into a global force pushing for justice and equality for black people.

We revisit the people she met in her Black Lives Matter documentary five years ago and takes the temperature of the nation after an extraordinary fortnight of protests and finally, some change.

We speak with Tamika Mallory, the activist who delivered what’s being called ‘the speech of a generation’ days after Floyd’s death.

“We cannot look at this as an isolated incident. The reason buildings are burning are not just for our brother George Floyd,” she told the Minneapolis crowd.

They’re burning down because people here in Minnesota are saying to people in New York, to people in California, to people in Memphis, to people across this nation, enough is enough.”

We interview Art Acevedo, the Houston Police Chief who told President Trump to ‘ shut his mouth…because you’re putting men and women in their early 20s at risk.’


Edit: next week:

All the Single Men

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Being a single man in China is tough. Young men face pressure to provide a family heir but finding a bride isn’t easy.

With 30 million more males than females, many bachelors are taking desperate measures to get hitched.

Lan Sui is 27 years old and still lives with his parents. He’s under pressure to start a family but in his home province of Henan, one of the poorest in China, there aren’t many young women available. Henan has one of the worst male to female ratios in the country.

In China, there’s a cultural preference for males. The saying here is that raising a girl is like cultivating someone else’s field because a girl moves into her husband’s family after marriage.

With technology now able to predict the sex of the baby in the womb, female fetuses are being aborted, leaving the country with millions more men than women.

Men from the ‘bachelor villages’ in Henan province are looking far and wide to find a wife. At a price, they can buy brides from Vietnam, Laos and even from as far as Indonesia.

The lack of women has also led to a local trafficking trade. We met Lui Bing who has been searching for his wife since she was kidnapped many years ago, leaving him alone to bring up their daughter.

While the police are trying to crack down on trafficking networks, the trade in local women continues.

All the Single Men explores the human and social impact of China’s female deficit, from the rise in the sale of sex dolls, to the loneliness of young men working in the city factories, to the desperation of men living in the rural areas.

Lan Sui’s family finally find a solution to their son’s problem, saving up enough money to buy a bride from Indonesia. While his family are happy, Lan Sui’s new bride Lai is uncertain about how she’ll fare in her new country.

Tuesday 30 June-

The Swedish Model

Tuesday 30 June at 8pm

Sweden they’re doing a “lockdown lite”.

The bars and restaurants have never closed, primary schools and child-care centres have stayed open.

There’ve been some restrictions: high schools and universities are closed and aged-care facilities have been locked down. But social distancing and working from home are voluntary, recommended by a Government which trusts its citizens to do the right thing.

The architect and public face of Sweden’s unique approach is the country’s chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell. His regular briefings, constant media appearances and ‘I’ll do it my way’ approach have made him a national hero.

“Before this crisis – he was like nobody for the Swedish people – now he’s a rock star,” says Gustav Agerblad, who’s chosen to get a permanent reminder of Anders’ achievements – a tattoo of the epidemiologist’s face inked on his upper arm.

“I want to have the free will of my own and I really put the high price on that”, says Gustav.

But has Anders Tegnell got it right?

Reporter Lisa Millar presents a profile of a country debating the value of human life as the death toll mounts.

Compared to its Nordic neighbours, who enforced mandatory lockdowns, Sweden’s death rates are high. Its fatality rate is five times that of Finland, Norway and Denmark.

When we finally meet the man at the centre of the storm, he insists that his plan is working.

“This is a bit like having an ocean liner and trying to steer it with a lag of three or four weeks,” Anders Tegnell tells us. “We basically still think that this is the right strategy for Sweden.”

A visit to a Stockholm aged-care home, a sector which has borne the brunt of the virus, reveals staff struggling to cope with the demands of caring during Covid -19, and residents trying to remain calm.

And we meet Mirrey, daughter of a former Syrian soccer star who is devastated by the untimely death of her father who contracted and died from COVID after attending a church service.

After the elderly, it’s Sweden’s migrant communities who are suffering the highest death rates.

Mirrey blames the government for being slow to ban big gatherings.

“If it hadn’t been for that recommendation, then my dad would have been alive today.”

Watch The Swedish Model on Foreign Correspondent at 8pm on Tuesday 30th June on ABC and iview.

It will now air next Tuesday (July 7) at 8pm.

North Korea’s Secret Armada

Tuesday 14 July at 8pm

On the beaches and in the bays of Russia’s far east, shipwrecks from North Korea’s secret armada can be found everywhere. A few personal items are the only evidence that there was life on board.

“I’ve lived all my life in Vladivostok and only in the last two years have they started appearing. There’s almost one stranded boat on every beach,” says Olga Nesterova, a Vladisvostok resident.

Every year thousands of makeshift North Korean boats invade the waters of Japan and Russia to strip their seas of fish.

In a desperate bid for hard cash, and to feed his people, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un is forcing his fleets further out to sea to illegally fish, breaking United Nations sanctions.

It’s risky business with voyages often resulting in death for the North Korean fisherman. One Russian funeral parlour owner has been picking up their bodies that wash ashore and burying them himself.

“They keep floating all along the coast, wherever the current takes them. Sometimes I find just bones or parts of human flesh,” says Vladimir Gorohowsky, owner of Memory funeral homes.

Far out to sea in the Russian exclusive economic zone, a secret war is going on. The Russian coastguard is stepping up its operations against the North Korean armada.

Sometimes it escalates into armed conflict with casualties on both sides. The Russian coastguard has detained seven of the North Korean motherships and arrested the crew but it’s a battle the coastguard admits it’s not winning.

On the China-North Korean border, it’s confirmed the North Korean fishing fleets are firmly under the military’s control. Local Chinese guide, Mr Zhang, takes us inside North Korea to see the fishing production units in operation.

“It’s part of the military first policy to ensure a well-fed army, the army consumes the catch, ordinary fisherman only receive 150 grams of rice,” Mr Zhang says.

In the Chinese port province of Shandong it’s revealed the Chinese pay the North Korea leadership the much-needed hard currency for permits to fish inside North Korean waters.

This trade is a direct breach of United Nations sanctions imposed on North Korea in 2017.

Kim Jong Un is using his vast fishing fleets to prop up his regime. He’s pushing them further and further out to sea, putting them at great risk.

Also in grave danger are the fisheries of the Northern Pacific, once the richest in the world, now being depleted year after year.

Watch “North Korea’s Secret Armada” on Foreign Correspondent, 8pm Tuesday 14 July on ABC TV and iview.

Tuesday 21 July

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