On the eve of the six-month anniversary of the fall of Kabul, representatives and leaders from across the faith, veteran and Afghanistan-Australian Advocacy Network communities met with Federal MPs at Parliament House to urge the Australian Government to take #ActionforAfghanistan and do more to provide safety for those fleeing the ongoing crisis.
Dr Tim McKenna, Advisory Group member of the Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA) and Chair of the St Vincent de Paul Society Refugee Network, attended as a delegate.
“The scale and severity of the Afghan humanitarian crisis continues to worsen,” said Dr McKenna.
“The Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA) reiterates its call on the Australian Government to announce a special intake of at least 20,000 humanitarian visas for vulnerable people from Afghanistan additional to our annual humanitarian intake.
“Catholic Church agencies, parishes, schools, and community groups are already assisting Afghan refugees. We stand ready to do our part in a more ambitious, compassionate response.”
The forming of the delegation came following the Federal Government’s announcement that 15,000 places would be allocated to refugees within existing Humanitarian and Family Visa pathways over a four-year period.
In response, CAPSA has stated it was an inadequate response from the Australian Government to create no additional places for those fleeing Afghanistan. CAPSA remains deeply concerned about the lack of certainty and support for refugees on temporary visas from Afghanistan already in Australia, and about the devastating impacts of prolonged family separation for so many.
“Six months after Kabul fell to the Taliban, the Australian Government has still not provided permanent protection to refugees like me who have been living in Australia for ten years in permanent limbo,” said Zaki Haidari, a refugee leader on a temporary visa from Afghanistan and Leadership Coordinator at the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia.
“Refugees on temporary visas in the community are under extreme stress because we cannot sponsor our families, cannot plan for the future, and cannot contribute to Australia as we would want to.”
“We have nowhere else to go. Australia is our home, but we cannot call it our permanent home.”
Six months since the fall of Kabul, CAPSA acknowledges the pain felt by many at this time. In the last 183 days, the world has witnessed ongoing violence, targeted persecution and widespread devastation in Afghanistan at the hands of the Taliban regime.
CAPSA continues to stand alongside other Christian leaders, veterans, and the Afghanistan diaspora in calling for an immediate additional intake of at least 20,000 resettlement places for people from Afghanistan, permanent protection for refugees on temporary visas in Australia and expedited family reunion pathways for families of people from Afghanistan already in Australia.
With thanks to CAPSA.