Action for Afghanistan - Act Now

Dear Scott Morrison,

Almost twenty years ago, in November 2001, Australia was one of the first nations to join the US-led intervention in Afghanistan that removed the Taliban.

Since the withdrawal of international forces from Afghanistan commencing in 2014, the world has witnessed the Taliban forcibly take over the country - the Taliban have destroyed homes, displaced thousands of people and reintroduced draconian laws synonymous with their previous rule - including a demise in women’s rights and protections.

This crisis leaves women and girls particularly vulnerable as well as many of the advances which have been made for democratic rights for women.

Afghanistan’s historically persecuted minority ethnic and religious groups, such as the Hazara ethinic group, who faced widespread killings and genocide the last time the Taliban were in power, are now more acutely at risk.

There are also serious fears about the fate of numerous other groups including locally engaged employees of western embassies and forces, human rights activists, employees working in Australian government funded schools and NGOs, Australian-educated people from Afghanistan, LGBTIQA+, human rights defenders, artists, and journalists, among others.

After almost two decades of intervention and promises to the people of Afghanistan, promises of protection for persecuted groups, women, democratic freedoms and rule of law, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has a moral obligation to act in response to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

We strongly urge Prime Minister Scott Morrison to help at-risk groups and to ease the suffering of the Afghan people by:

  1. Ensuring that the Australian government urgently commits to an additional humanitarian intake of at least 20,000 places prioritising the most vulnerable persecuted people. Similar to Canada’s announcement accepting 20,000 refugees from Afghanistan, and similar to Australia’s response to the Syrian conflict in 2015 in accepting 12,000 vulnerable Syrian refugees.
  2. Granting pathways to permanent protection to refugees from Afghanistan living in Australia, held in immigration detention and people from Afghanistan who currently reside in Australia and fear returning to a Taliban ruled Afghanistan. This includes refugees on temporary visas and those held in detention offshore and onshore.
  3. Prioritising the family reunification visas of people from Afghanistan in Australia, including those who are prevented from reuniting with their families due to an unconscionable ministerial directive that requires the Department of Home Affairs to deprioritise family reunion of hundreds of people from Afghanistan in Australia.
  4. Lifting the ban on resettlement of refugees to Australia through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Indonesia, a ban which has been in place since 2014. This ban continues to limit resettlement options for 10,000 refugees from Afghanistan awaiting safety and protection.

 

Note: we are working closely with Australian community leaders from Afghanistan, and other NGOs, on this call to action. This petition page mirrors those of our allies. The matching petitions will be merged before presentation to the Government.

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We call on the Government to act now to provide safe passage to those fleeing the Taliban.  

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