More than 30,000 people have signed an Amnesty International petition since the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan two weeks ago, asking the Australian Government to increase the humanitarian intake to at least 20,000, fast track visas and ensure the borders of neighbouring countries remain open for those trying to flee.
With US troops set to withdraw tomorrow, Najeeba Wazefadost, a former refugee who fled the Taliban when she was 10 years old, said: “We are asking the Australian Government to do more to help those still trapped in Afghanistan. Evacuating more than 4,000 people from the airport was a good start, but it’s not enough.
“People are terrified and in danger – the Taliban are knocking on doors and many have already disappeared or been killed. Waiting for commercial flights to resume is not an option for many. The Australian government must fast track visas and ensure neighbouring countries keep their borders open so people can flee on land.
Dr Graham Thom, refugee adviser for Amnesty International Australia, said: “Tens of thousands of people across Australia are asking Home Affairs Minister, Karen Andrews, to step up. We need more visas processed, we need the humanitarian intake to be increased to at least 20,000, we need the programme that allows communities to sponsor refugees to be expanded and we need those on temporary visas already in Australia to be given the peace of mind of permanent visas.
“This humanitarian catastrophe is only just beginning – Australia must do more.”