Australia must urgently increase its humanitarian intake in the face of the refugee crises in Ukraine, Afghanistan and Myanmar, Amnesty International Australia said.
Diaspora groups representing people from Ukraine, Afghanistan and Myanmar have met with various members of the Australian Parliament to ask for more help for people fleeing their homes.
“Since 2020, Australia has reduced its annual humanitarian intake by 5000 places each year, we have capacity to help and we should be doing a lot more,” Amnesty International Australia Campaign Director, Tim O’Connor, said.
“Australians are generous and we know people want to do what they can – we hope the Government takes this into consideration in the forthcoming budget.”
Sitarah Mohammadi from the Afghan community said the needs of people fleeing Afghanistan has only intensified in the months since the Taliban seized control.
“A special humanitarian intake for Afghanistan would enable Australia to respond more effectively to those most at risk among the 6.5 million people now displaced inside and outside of Afghanistan,” Mohammadi said.
“Since the Taliban’s violent takeover of Afghanistan in August, more than 150,000 Afghan nationals have applied for humanitarian visas in Australia but, despite the dire situations they face, few have much hope of finding protection in Australia. In addition, refugees from Afghanistan on temporary visas must also be granted permanent protection and enabled to reunite with their families.”
Ievgeniia Chesnakova from the Australian Ukrainian community said people seeking refuge from the horrors of war need an understanding that Australia welcomes them.
“For those who have been granted a tourist visa there needs to be communication that they can get moved to Australia, flights to Australia and assurances they will be assisted when they arrive, as well as a path to permanency.”
Ko Naing Saulsman, a representative of the Myanmar community, said despite other world events dominating headlines, the need in Myanmar is no less pressing.
“The situation in Myanmar is a humanitarian emergency that will continue getting worse due to the military junta’s consistent attacks on civilian areas. The international community needs to increase the refugee intake for people fleeing Myanmar as well as urgent humanitarian assistance along the India and Thailand border.”