Action for Afghanistan
Action for Afghanistan
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, 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 people from Afghanistan by:
1. Committing to an additional humanitarian intake of at least 20,000 prioritising the most vulnerable persecuted people of Afghanistan, identified above, similar to Canada’s announcement on 14 August 2021 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. Expediting the resettlement of interpreters in Afghanistan, guides and other personnel involved in Australia’s mission in Afghanistan.
3. Granting permanent protection to more than 5,100 refugees from Afghanistan, predominantly from the historically persecuted Hazara ethnic groups, who are currently on temporary protection visas in Australia.
4. Granting amnesty to all nationals of Afghanistan currently in Australia who fear returning to Afghanistan.
5. Prioritising the family reunification visas of people from Afghanistan in Australia, including those who are prevented from reuniting with their families due to a government ministerial directive that requires the Department of Home Affairs to deprioritise family reunion of hundreds of people in Australia.
6. 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.
This petition is running alongside a letter, led by the Afghanistan-Australian Advocacy Network, which has received signatures from 307 organisations and over 9165 people academics, community leaders, human rights advocates, lawyers, doctors, writers, engineers, artists, students and civil society representatives, calling for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to take urgent concrete steps to support the Afghan people.
See the original letter here - https://www.actionforafghanistan.com.au/