The Refugee Council of Australia stands in solidarity with the Afghan community at this time of crisis and is advocating for the Australian Government to take urgent action and do more to provide safety and leadership.
Help for people with family members in Afghanistan
The Australian Government announced that an initial 3,000 humanitarian places will be allocated to Afghan nationals within Australia’s annual program. The Department of Home Affairs has an Afghanistan Update page, which includes:
- changes to the process for updating contact details for Afghan evacuees in Australia on 449 visas (this is now an online form)https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-and-support/afghanistan-update
- information relating to the provision of free legal services https://www.homeaffairs.gov.au/help-and-support/afghanistan-update#content-index-2
If you need assistance and advice in making applications to bring family members, you can contact the following community legal centres:
- NSW: Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS) on (02) 8355 7227. They have also produced a factsheet in English or Dari.
- VIC: Refugee Legal on (03) 9413 0166. They have a factsheet in English.
- VIC: Asylum Seeker Resource Centre- Afghanistan Legal Clinic (03) 9252 2534 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- ACT: Companion House on (02) 6251 4550.
- QLD: Refugee and Immigration Legal Service (RAILS) on (07) 3846 9300 or email@example.com
- TAS: Tasmanian Refugee Legal Service on (03) 6169 9473 or fill out their online form
- WA: Circle Green Community Legal on (08) 6148 3636 or fill out their online form or visit their office at 445 Hay St, Perth, Mon-Thurs 9.30am-12.30pm.
- SA: Australian Migrant Resource Centre (AMRC) Afghan Community Service Hub (08) 8256 5700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Asia Pacific Network of Refugees (APNOR) has also launched an Afghan Crisis Helpline for Afghan nationals in Australia, Iran or Afghanistan. APNOR can provide emergency support items, link you with mental health counsellors and refer you for pro bono legal support. Call (+61) 1800 855 707.
If you have lost contact with your family members in Afghanistan, contact:
- the Australian Red Cross on their Restoring Family Links Hotline on 1800 875 199 (Monday to Friday 9am-5pm AEST), or send an email to email@example.com.
Take action on Afghanistan
Please email your MP now calling on them to support seven practical steps the Australian Government can take to provide safety for people from Afghanistan. You can use this form to send an email to your MP here.
Add your name to Action for Afghanistan’s open letter to the Australian government, calling for increased protection of Afghan people at serious risk.
Other ways members of the public can help
If you would like to support the Afghan community you can:
- Donate to major aid agencies providing humanitarian assistance on the ground, through Emergency Action for Afghanistan.
- The Asia Pacific Network of Refugees (APNOR) has an Emergency Appeal for Afghan women and children.
- Donate to the Refugee Council of Australia to support our advocacy for Afghan refugees.
- Donate goods to one of the organisations listed by location on our website.
- if you have other support you would like to offer, please register on the Settlement Council of Australia portal here: https://scoa.org.au/support-afghans/
Mental health support
- NSW: STARTTS provides counselling and community support services to people in NSW who have been affected by torture and trauma. These services are still available during the COVID-19 lockdown. Anyone can make a referral to STARTTS – service providers, doctors and other medical professionals, a family member or friend of the person or the person themselves. You can call (02) 9646 6800 and ask for the Intake Officer or complete this referral form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Vic: The Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture (Foundation House) provides specialised counselling and mental health support. If you or someone you know requires support please contact email@example.com
Photo credit: ©UNHCR/Edris Lutfi