Responding to the announcement that 3000 humanitarian visas will be given to Afghan nationals, Amnesty International Australia Refugee Advisor Dr Graham Thom said:
“This is a huge crisis which has only just begun – 3000 places is a start but it’s wholly insufficient when we have so many people in urgent, desperate need.
“What’s particularly miserly about this announcement is that these places are not in addition to our existing humanitarian program – such a dire humanitarian crisis requires additional resources and spaces for the most vulnerable, including human rights defenders, journalists and women and girls.
“We’ve seen Canada and the UK stand up and do their bit by each announcing emergency intakes of 20,0000 places and the Australian Government really has no excuse for its current humanitarian parsimony, especially when we have been so closely involved in Afghanistan over the past 20 years.
“Australia has resettled very few refugees over recent years due to COVID, so we have the capacity to at least match the humanitarian resettlement commitments of Australia’s allies.”
In addition to expanding Australia’s humanitarian intake, Amnesty is also calling on the Australian government to protect Afghan nationals in Australia on temporary visas by granting them permanent visas so they can sponsor their family, as well as ways to respond to the crisis in the longer term, such as a workable and fair refugee community sponsorship program.