July 19th, 2020, marked the 7 year anniversary of the day in 2013 when Kevin Rudd, then Prime Minister of Australia announced that people seeking asylum arriving in Australia by boat would be sent to offshore detention camps, and they would never be allowed to settle in Australia if found to be refugees. Offshore processing in Manus Island and Nauru started again in August 2012, but it is the date of 19 July which stands out as a landmark for off-shore / on-shore / community detention.

For yet another year RAR groups held their own gatherings or joined with others in their area. COVID-19 restrictions impacted on what we are able to do. Some events are detailed below.

Cairns for Refugees

On 19 July 2020 Cairns for Refugees held a vigil to mark 7 deplorable years since the Rudd Government reintroduced offshore detention for asylum seekers arriving by boat. 3127 people were transferred to PNG and Nauru between 19 July 2013 and 27 February 2017. 80% were found to be genuine refugees. 7 years later over 200 men remain detained in PNG, over 200 people remained detained in Nauru, and over 1,220 people are in Australia as ‘transitory persons’, including over 200 transferred for medical attention being held in ‘Alternative Places of Detention’ (i.e. hotels). They now enter their 8th year of illegal detention. 13 people have died from this policy.

Cairns for Refugees acknowledges the vital role mobile phones have played in bettering the situation for refugees and asylum seekers while detained.  Phones have been instrumental in allowing the outside world insights into the conditions and treatment facing detainees. They provide a lifeline to detainees through contact with family, friends, lawyers, medical professions, advocates and the world at large. They provide an avenue for artistic and even journalistic expression. For these reasons and so many more, Cairns for Refugees raise funds to provide phone credit to people who are being detained. We took up the hat at our vigil and…  people donated $718.10!!!  Great work, Cairns supporters!

Pictures from RAR groups in Victoria:  Alexandra, Beechworth, Benalla, Mansfield, Wangaratta, Yackadandah and their actions for July 19.  Plus BMRSG members in the Blue Mountains  and Albury-Wodonga on the border!

Pictures from Apollo Bay and CRAG (Vic)



Thought experiment:

Where were you seven years ago ??  What were you doing ??

How much have you done/achieved in seven years??  Reflect on all the travels, relationships, jobs, new hobbies, milestones you’ve reached

I think you know how my next line will read…

There are hundreds of refugees in Australia who, in that incomprehensible period of time, have not looked beyond the four walls of their confinement. These are seven years of precious, precious life that has been robbed for no justifiable reason at all!

How many more years shall we steal from these innocent lives? For how many more years shall we inflict irreversible trauma on fellow humans that could have well been us?

If we expect the government alone to right these wrongs, then these detention centres may as well become cemeteries. Everyone is equally responsible under democracy and each of us can be a building block for change. So raise your words, stomp your feet, take whatever action you can in the name of justice.

You alone can make a difference beyond imagination!


ONLINE RALLY – 2pm 19 July
Join us at this Online Rally to show your support for the detained refugees and to hear their stories first hand.
Join us at this Online Rally to have your voice heard and to say to Scott Morrison, Peter Dutton and Alan Tudge: 7 YEARS IS TOO LONG! FREE THE REFUGEES!REGISTER HERE: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZIscu-srDMsEt0nOvXRtVkApOxvw8VkCCHsSpeakers:
Mostafa (Moz) Azimitabar – refugee detained in the Mantra hotel in Melbourne
Shamindan Kanapathi – refugee detained in PNG
Taqi Azra – NUW organiser & Hazara refugee
more TBA
[Organized by RAC Victoria]


Southern Highlands RAR  have prepared some prayers that groups may want to use in their local areas.  Please use them as you can.  Some groups are talking to churches about bell ringing on July 19 too.

Prayer for Asylum seekers 2 July 19_ Flyer content for 19_7 July 19_ Letter to faith leaders


Musician John Hunter has given us a song that RAR groups can use in their rallies and gatherings. Getting the message out is the main thing so please feel free to adapt it to suit performers and audiences. How you present it, singers, is entirely your choice and your right to adapt. Thank you so much John!!



Stand and demand an end to Australia’s inhumane immigration detention policy. Demand freedom for those sent to Manus and Nauru. It’s now been seven years.

Be Covid safe- bring masks, sanitiser. Limit 20 people so we will stream it from Zoom to fb https://amnestyau.zoom.us/j/98618314185
Meeting ID: 986 1831 4185
or phone 02 8015 6011 (NSW)


Friday 17 July, 11am – 12 noon.

Dan Tehan electorate office:  190 Gray St, Hamilton.

Six HARAR members will stand outside Dan Tehan’s office with social distancing in place. Each person will have a placard.  The bell at the Catholic and Anglican churches will ring 7 times (or equivalent, for the 7 years of offshore detention in Manus and Nauru) – at 11 am and again at noon. And we’ll deliver a letter to his office.

We would like the group outside Dan’s office to also have a bell to ring.

We would also like people to volunteer to come to the vigil. If you can come, please call Judy on 0429 772 414 to let her know.


CYGNET: We will gather at 2pm in Loongana park and hold a short vigil to show we have not forgotten the innocent women, men and children still detained on Manus, Nauru, Christmas Island and those in Hotel Detention onshore detention centres. Given the health and economic crisis we face, to continue to spend millions of dollars locking up people who have committed no crime, and need our support and help is barbaric.


Vigils are planned between 11.00am-12md on July 19 in North East
Victoria in Alexandra, Mansfield, Euroa, Benalla, Wangaratta,
Yakandandah, Beechworth and Albury/Wodonga (St Matthews, Albury will meet at 11.30am, for bell-ringing at 12 noon.  Please let know if you are coming, for numbers).

In most cases people will hold their vigil adjacent to churches with bells, have a maximum of 10
participants who will stand 1.5 metres apart, wearing masks. and hold posters with Seven
Years Too Long, Freedom for Refugees, or Game Over.

RAR members,  members of faith communities and Amnesty are participating.  Bells will
chime seven times every five minutes. Photos will be taken and posted on
social media and RAR website.


Join us in marking 7 deplorable years (#7YearsTooLong) since the Rudd Government formally returned to ‘offshore processing’ for asylum seekers who came to Australia by boat. Over a thousand people enter their 8th year of detention as most of us emerge from a few months in lockdown. Their lives continue to be a political game.

We are holding this vigil to mark the occasion, to remind ourselves to have empathy and act for those detained, to remind the public this torture is happening in our name, to show our parliamentarians that we are firmly against this policy, and to remind those detained that we are here: that we care: that we are trying, and: that we remember them. Please join us.

SUNDAY 19 July 2020, 4-5pm.
Cairns Esplanade, near Aplin Street.


Please email   with the details of your event.

  • RAR group:
  • Date and time:
  • Location:
  • Description:
  • Any RSVP required:

Check out the timeline (July 2013 -2019) on off-shore detention from the Human Rights Law Centre.