10-year Anniversary Vigil – Event Planning Resource Kit

10-year Anniversary Vigil – Event Planning Resource Kit

What is this resource?

To acknowledge the 10-year anniversary of Australia’s reintroduction of offshore processing, the Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA) is supporting its community to host their own vigil event.  

It provides a suggested agenda, links to resources, and ideas for planning your event.

If you do organise a vigil event and use this resource, let us know what you think and share your experience! Get in touch via info@capsa.org.au

Background to the 13th August anniversary

For the past 20 years, Australians have witnessed successive Federal Governments introduce and maintain immigration policies, laws and rhetoric based on deterrence and dehumanisation. Since 2001, under the guise of ‘stopping the boats’, ‘saving lives at sea’ and ‘strengthening Australia’s border security’, the policy of offshore processing was developed.

After a brief four-year hiatus of the policy from 2008, on 13 August 2012 the Australian government announced the reinstatement of offshore processing. This meant sending any person seeking asylum who arrived by boat to Australia without a valid visa ‘offshore’ for processing, either to the Republic of Nauru (Nauru) or to Manus Island in Papua New Guinea (PNG). This is also known as ‘third party processing’.

All people seeking asylum who have arrived by boat to Australia since this time, have been at risk of offshore processing  – even if they applied for asylum immediately upon arrival in Australia or had characteristics warranting special consideration (Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law – Offshore Processing: an overview).

Offshore processing continues to this day with support from the new Australian Federal Government. For those subject to this policy, its negative impact remains – many face ongoing mental and physical illness, uncertainty of future and livelihood, and decade-long separation from family and loved ones. For others, the negative impact of this policy has resulted in death. Since 2013, 19 people who were imprisoned under this policy have died or committed suicide.

Deciding to host your event in-person or online – things to consider


Suggested event format and example run-sheet:

  • 30-minute to 1-hour vigil.

  • Can be held in a variety of contexts either in-person or online – i.e. parish/church, school, class, work meeting.

  • Opportunity to share information and people’s lived experience, whilst also providing a space for reflection and contemplation.

View our example run sheet, and an appendix accompanying this document.