PUBLIC STATEMENT: SYDNEY PEACE FOUNDATION CALLS FOR AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT TO SUPPORT AID FOR AFGHANISTAN
Sydney Peace Foundation stands firmly with the people of Afghanistan and while we acknowledge the efforts of the Australian Government to support and provide visas under the Afghan locally engaged employees program, this will not be enough. Australia was engaged in this war which has left women and girls in Afghanistan fearing for their lives and livelihoods. In line with Amnesty International and the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), call on the government to:
- Evacuate people at grave risk within Afghanistan including those who worked for, or assisted the Australian Government and Australian organisations, including the embassy, armed forces, NGOs and media, human rights defenders, women and girls whose lives and security are under threat.
- Urge governments in the region to keep borders open for people trying to flee persecution in Afghanistan, particularly Pakistan and Iran.
- Increase the number of refugee resettlement places for Afghan refugees as Canada has done and urge other States to do the same.
- Increase aid to the region to assist people who have been displaced across borders and, wherever possible, support organisations still offering assistance within Afghanistan.
- Protect the 4,300 Afghan nationals in Australia on temporary visas by extending their visas as the Government did in May for citizens of Myanmar. People whose asylum claims have been previously rejected should be supported to submit new claims given the changed circumstances in Afghanistan.
- Assist Afghan nationals in Australia by giving them priority for urgent family reunion applications for relatives who are at particular risk, as members of minorities targeted by the Taliban or people likely to be targeted because of their connections to western nations.
Image credit: “Afghan family” by Bruce Barrett