Kabul, Afghanistan

Australia must step up and extend humanitarian program to Afghanistan

Amnesty International Australia is calling on the Australian government to immediately and urgently extend its humanitarian program to those fleeing the crisis in Afghanistan.

“The security situation has deteriorated so rapidly and dramatically that we must act now. Australia has an obligation to protect those most at risk including human rights defenders, ethnic minorities and women and children. Amnesty International Australia is calling on the Australian government to take action now and do all it can to provide safe passage to those fleeing the Taliban,” Amnesty International Australia Refugee Coordinator, Dr Graham Thom said.

“The Australian Government must also act to protect Afghan nationals in Australia on temporary visas by extending their visas indefinitely.

“We have the capacity to manage this humanitarian intake, just as we did for those fleeing the crisis in Syria.”

As well as a rapid one off increase for people from Afghanistan, Australia must also look at ways it can help respond to the humanitarian crisis going forward.

“We also know with a fair and workable community refugee sponsorship program, people right around the country are ready to welcome people from Afghanistan in need into their communities.”

“We have long called for a fair and just model of refugee sponsorship – communities right across Australia have told us they’re ready to welcome refugees – and the department’s own recent review backs our calls. 

“Now is the moment for Minister Hawke to use this and other pathways to expand our humanitarian intake.”

Executive Director of the Asia Pacific Network of Refugees, Najeeba Wazefadost said Australia has to redouble its efforts in protecting people in Afghanistan.

“While we acknowledge the efforts of the Australian Government to support and provide visas under the Afghan locally engaged employees program, we fear nonetheless that this will not be nearly enough. It is the worst security situation ever for women and girls in Afghanistan.”

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URGENT: Australia must provide safe passage to people fleeing the Taliban