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Over 300 organisations, businesses, and community groups call on all Parliamentarians to respond to the crisis in Afghanistan

Over 300 organisations, businesses, and community groups have signed on to a joint letter to all Federal MPs and Senators calling on them to take urgent action on the devastating situation in Afghanistan. The joint letter was sent to all Parliamentarians on 18 August and urges 7 practical steps that the Australian Government can take to provide safety for people from Afghanistan and to show leadership on the global stage.

“We welcome the announcement yesterday by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke confirming the extension of temporary visas for people from Afghanistan in Australia but there is a lot more that needs to be done for people at grave risk. Members of the Afghan diaspora in Australia are desperately worried about their family, colleagues, and friends who remain in Afghanistan. Many of the people here in Australia also need certainty and safety, and the Australian Government has the power to offer protection and additional support in many ways,” said Refugee Council of Australia CEO Paul Power.

The 7 actions include:

  1. Do everything possible in coming days to evacuate people who are at grave risk within Afghanistan, including those who have worked for or assisted the Australian Government and Australian organisations (including the embassy, armed forces, NGOs and media), human rights defenders and women and girls whose lives and security are under great threat. 
  2. Urge governments in the region to keep borders open for people trying to flee persecution in Afghanistan, including and particularly Pakistan and Iran. 
  3. Offer additional refugee resettlement places for Afghan refugees immediately, as the Australian Government did in 2015 with 12,000 additional places for Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Canada has already announced its commitment of 20,000 additional places for Afghan refugees. Australia could match this offer and urge other resettlement states to do the same, sending a strong and positive message to states receiving Afghan refugees that the world is ready to share responsibility in the protection of lives at risk. 
  4. As many people are now at risk from hunger and lack of shelter due to their forced displacement, immediately increase Australian aid to the region to support programs to assist people who have been displaced across borders and, wherever possible, support organisations still offering assistance within Afghanistan.   
  5. We welcome the extension of temporary visas of all Afghan citizens in Australia announced by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke on 17 August. A vital next step of this is to ensure that people whose asylum claims have been previously rejected be supported to submit new claims in the light of the changed circumstances in Afghanistan. 
  6. Extend permanent protection to 4300 Afghans on temporary protection visas, recognising that members of this group are unlikely to be able to return in safety for many years to come and need the assurance that they can continue to live in Australia without the constant fear of forced return. 
  7. Assist Afghan Australians, including people with temporary and permanent protection visas, with 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. This should include giving priority to finalising family reunion applications which have previously been lodged but are waiting on a decision from the Department of Home Affairs. 
Add your organisation's support here

The full letter and signatories are below:

18 August 2021 

Dear Parliamentarian, 

Re: Seven urgent and practical steps Australia can take to provide safety and leadership on the situation in Afghanistan 

Australians are watching with alarm as the Taliban takes control of Afghanistan. The events are particularly distressing to members of Australia’s Afghan diaspora who are hearing directly from family members and friends about the terrible violence within the country. There are already many reports of executions and forced marriages of young women and girls.  

Years of work to support the education, safety and autonomy of Afghanistan’s women, including programs generously supported by Australian aid, is being destroyed and many people are in fear for their lives. They include people who have worked with Australian and other western governments and organisations as translators, security and support staff, NGO workers and journalists. Members of religious minorities are also at grave risk, including the many Shia members of the Hazara community. 

We, the undersigned organisations, businesses, and community groups, appreciate the Government’s existing effort in working to provide visas to locally engaged staff, and ask that you urgently intensify these efforts to help these people evacuate Afghanistan. We believe that Australia can help to provide international leadership through its own response and by encouraging other governments to act. Civil society groups in the Asia-Pacific region, refugee-led organisations such as the Asia Pacific Network of Refugees and members of Australia’s Afghan diaspora have shown wide consensus on seven important and urgent actions the Australian Government can take: 

  1. Do everything possible in coming days to evacuate people who are at grave risk within Afghanistan, including those who have worked for or assisted the Australian Government and Australian organisations (including the embassy, armed forces, NGOs and media), human rights defenders and women and girls whose lives and security are under great threat. 
  2. Urge governments in the region to keep borders open for people trying to flee persecution in Afghanistan, including and particularly Pakistan and Iran. 
  3. Offer additional refugee resettlement places for Afghan refugees immediately, as the Australian Government did in 2015 with 12,000 additional places for Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Canada has already announced its commitment of 20,000 additional places for Afghan refugees. Australia could match this offer and urge other resettlement states to do the same, sending a strong and positive message to states receiving Afghan refugees that the world is ready to share responsibility in the protection of lives at risk. 
  4. As many people are now at risk from hunger and lack of shelter due to their forced displacement, immediately increase Australian aid to the region to support programs to assist people who have been displaced across borders and, wherever possible, support organisations still offering assistance within Afghanistan.   
  5. We welcome the extension of temporary visas of all Afghan citizens in Australia announced by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke on 17 August. A vital next step of this is to ensure that people whose asylum claims have been previously rejected be supported to submit new claims in the light of the changed circumstances in Afghanistan. 
  6. Extend permanent protection to 4300 Afghans on temporary protection visas, recognising that members of this group are unlikely to be able to return in safety for many years to come and need the assurance that they can continue to live in Australia without the constant fear of forced return. 
  7. Assist Afghan Australians, including people with temporary and permanent protection visas, with 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. This should include giving priority to finalising family reunion applications which have previously been lodged but are waiting on a decision from the Department of Home Affairs. 

We urge you to address these critical priorities.   

Signed by: 

  1. Refugee Council of Australia 
  2. Aasha for Schools
  3. Accessible Diversity Services Initiative Limited (ADSI)  
  4. Accord Tiling Pty Ltd 
  5. Act for Peace  
  6. ACT Hazara Community Inc
  7. Adventist Development and Relief Agency Australia Ltd.
  8. Afghan Australian Development Organisation 
  9. Afghan Australian Initiative Inc 
  10. Afghan Sufra Pty Ltd  
  11. Afghan Traditional  
  12. African Australian Hunting and Drumming Group 
  13. Aireys Inlet Rural Australians for Refugees
  14. Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations Inc.(APCO) 
  15. ALMAS Medical Group 
  16. Amiculus: The Humble Friend Project
  17. Amnesty International Australia 
  18. AMPARO Advocacy In 
  19. Amz Paint and Design Pty Ltd
  20. ANCORW (Australia Committee On Refugee Women)
  21. Anglican Board of Mission – Australia Limited 
  22. APNOR (Asia Pacific Network of Refugees)
  23. Apollo Bay Rural Australians for Refugees (ABRAR)
  24. Archdiocese of Brisbane Catholic Education
  25. Architects for Peace 
  26. Armidale Rural Australians for Refugees 
  27. Armidale Sanctuary Humanitarian Settlement, Inc. 
  28. Association for Services to Torture and Trauma Survivors 
  29. Association of Women Educators  
  30. Assyrian Australian Association – Assyrian Resource Centre 
  31. Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) 
  32. Asylum Seekers Centre 
  33. Au Bro Construction Pty Ltd  
  34. Auburn Small Community Organisation Network (ASCON) Inc,  
  35. Ausco Electrical Group 
  36. Australasian Society of HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine 
  37. Australia One Migration
  38. Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Office for Justice, Ecology and Peace 
  39. Australian Christian Churches
  40. Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce 
  41. Australian Council for International Development 
  42. Australian Council for Tamil Refugees 
  43. Australian Council of Social Service 
  44. Australian Education Union (AEU) 
  45. Australian Gender Equality Council 
  46. Australian GLBTI Multicultural Council
  47. Australian Global Health Alliance 
  48. Australian Lawyers for Human Rights 
  49. Australian Lutheran World Service 
  50. Australian Network of Museums for Peace 
  51. Australian Refugee Association  
  52. Australian Services Union 
  53. Australian Women Lawyers Ltd  
  54. Australian Women’s Health Network 
  55. AVI 
  56. A1 Contracting Group Pty Ltd 
  57. A1 Spare Parts Pty Ltd  
  58. Baba Mazari Foundation Inc 
  59. Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council
  60. Balmain For Refugees
  61. Baptist World Aid Australia 
  62. Bbr Bricklaying Pty Ltd 
  63. Bendigo Amnesty Group 
  64. Bennelong Friends of Refugees 
  65. Beyond the Orphanage Foundation 
  66. Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group
  67. Borough Of Queenscliffe
  68. Bosco Social Justice Group, Engadine 
  69. BPW Australia (Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs) 
  70. Bridge for Asylum Seekers Incorporated 
  71. Bridging Lanka Ltd 
  72. Brien Holden Foundation 
  73. Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project (BASP) 
  74. Brisbane On-Arrival Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Group 
  75. Brisbane Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Network (BRASS) 
  76. Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) 
  77. Burnet Institute 
  78. Byron Friends of Palestine 
  79. Cabrini Outreach 
  80. Canberra Refugee Support 
  81. CARAD – Centre for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees 
  82. CareerSeekers New Australian Internship Program 
  83. Caritas Australia 
  84. Castlemaine RAR 
  85. Catholic Social Services Victoria 
  86. CatholicCare Toowoomba and SW Qld  
  87. Centre for Human Rights Education, Curtin University 
  88. Centre for Multicultural Youth 
  89. Circle Green Community Legal
  90. Circle of Friends Australia 
  91. Cisarua Learning
  92. City of Hobart
  93. City of Port Adelaide Enfield
  94. City of Ryde
  95. CKM Consulting Solutions
  96. Codertainment, Coding for Kids
  97. cohealth 
  98. Color Sydney Pty Ltd
  99. Communicare Inc
  100. Communify Qld. 
  101. CommUnity Construction 
  102. Community Information and Support Victoria
  103. Community Migrant Resource Centre 
  104. Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia 
  105. Community Resource Unit  
  106. Companion House 
  107. COTA NT 
  108. Creating Space Project 
  109. Darebin City Council
  110. Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network
  111. Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney 
  112. Diaspora Action Australia  
  113. Diplomacy Training Program 
  114. Disaster Relief Australia
  115. District Council of Yankalilla
  116. Door of Hope Australia Inc. 
  117. EACH
  118. Eastwood Uniting Church 
  119. Edmund Rice Centre for Justice & Community Education
  120. Edmund Rice Centre Western Australia 
  121. Elders Real Estate Goulburn
  122. Eleven Collective  
  123. End Child Detention Coalition Australia
  124. Epoch Geotechnical Services Pty Ltd 
  125. Essential Electric Solutions Pty Ltd 
  126. Ethnic Council of Shepparton and District 
  127. Fairtrade ANZ 
  128. FairTrade Films 
  129. Fasttransport Pty Ltd 
  130. Federal Loves Refugees 
  131. Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia 
  132. Festival of Jewish Arts and Music
  133. Filipino Women Support Group MacArthur 
  134. Forcibly Displaced People Network
  135. Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture   
  136. Free To Feed 
  137. Ghan Roofing  
  138. Global Learning Centre 
  139. Good Return 
  140. Good Samaritan Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Network 
  141. Good Shepherd Parish Plumpton 
  142. Goongerah Wombat Orphanage
  143. Greater Dandenong City Council
  144. Green Community 
  145. Green Connect 
  146. Hagar Australia  
  147. Hagar International Foundation
  148. Hammond Taylor
  149. Hazara Women of Australia 
  150. Hazarajat Transport Pty Ltd  
  151. HealthServe Australia 
  152. Heart Centre Yoga
  153. Hojat Migration Agent  
  154. Horn of Africa Relief and Development Agency 
  155. Hoss Handyman
  156. HOST International Ltd 
  157. House of Welcome 
  158. Human Appeal Australia WA
  159. Human Rights Council of Australia 
  160. Human Rights Law Centre 
  161. Hunar Symposia 
  162. Ilyas Auto Dismantlers Pty Ltd 
  163. Imam Ali Ltd 
  164. Immigrant Women’s Support Service 
  165. Immigration Advice and Rights Centre 
  166. Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) 
  167. Indigo Foundation 
  168. Inner West Council
  169. Institute for Human Secutiy and Social Change, La Trobe University 
  170. Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea 
  171. International Commission of Jurists Australia 
  172. International Detention Coalition (IDC)  
  173. International Justice Mission Australia 
  174. International Volunteers for Peace 
  175. International Women’s Development Agency 
  176. Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia  
  177. Jews for Refugees
  178. John Green Tiling 
  179. Josephite Action Group (JAG) 
  180. Josephite Justice Network (JJN) 
  181. Josephite Mission and History Centre 
  182. Just Peace Queensland Inc 
  183. Justice and Peace Office, Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney 
  184. Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, UNSW Sydney 
  185. Kapit-bahayan Cooperative Ltd 
  186. Kateb Hazara Association  
  187. Kateb Hazara Organisation  
  188. Katib Hazara 
  189. Kyeema Foundation 
  190. Leeton Shire Council 
  191. Liberty Victoria 
  192. Life Without Barriers 
  193. Lifeframe Counselling
  194. Live and Learn Environmental Education 
  195. Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services 
  196. Loreto Sisters 
  197. Lutheran Church of Australia 
  198. M4 Car Removal  
  199. Mary Ward International Australia 
  200. Medical Association for Prevention of War 
  201. Melaleuca Australia 
  202. Mercy Community Romero Centre 
  203. Mercy Foundation
  204. Mercy Works Ltd  
  205. Metro Assist 
  206. Metro Express Car Removals 
  207. Micah Australia 
  208. Migrant and Refugee North Metropolitan Perth WA Conference 
  209. Migrant Resource Centre Tasmania 
  210. Migrant Women In Business 
  211. Migration Institute of Australia  
  212. Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Justice and Peace Centre 
  213. Motivation Australia
  214. MRC Northern Tas Inc 
  215. MRZ Wreckers Pty Ltd
  216. MTR Painting and Decorating  
  217. Multicultural Assistance Task Force (MATF) 
  218. Multicultural Communities Council Gold Coast
  219. Multicultural Council of Wagga Wagga Inc 
  220. Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association 
  221. Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network 
  222. Multicultural Youth Affairs Network (MYAN NSW) 
  223. Murdoch Children’s Research Institute 
  224. Music for Refugees
  225. My Computer Mentor
  226. Nasle Baba Foundation (NBF) 
  227. National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) 
  228. National Council of Jewish Women of Australia 
  229. National Ethnic Disability Alliance
  230. National Justice Project 
  231. National Refugee-led Advisory and Advocacy Group 
  232. Nawai Bricklaying  
  233. Northern Settlement Services Ltd 
  234. NSW Car Removals  
  235. NSW Teachers Federation 
  236. NSWCCL 
  237. NT Working Women’s Centre 
  238. NTCOSS 
  239. Oaktree 
  240. Older Women’s Network NSW 
  241. OLQP Social Justice Group
  242. Omex Tiling Pty Ltd 
  243. One World Metal Recycling Pty Ltd  
  244. Our Lady of Dolours Chatswood Social Justice Ministry 
  245. Overseas Services to Survivors of Torture and Trauma 
  246. Oxfam Australia 
  247. PaCSIA (Peace and Conflict Studies Institute Australia) 
  248. Palmera  
  249. Parkinson Dental 
  250. Partner Housing Australasia (Building) Incorporated 
  251. Pax Christi Australia 
  252. Pax Christi Queensland
  253. Peace, Justice, Ecology – Diocese of Parramatta 
  254. People with Disability Australia 
  255. Plan International Australia 
  256. Poke Ola Darwin
  257. Pottsville Refugee Support Group
  258. Precious Renovations
  259. Premier Construction Solutions 
  260. Presentation Sisters Queensland 
  261. Puffling 
  262. Qh Electrical
  263. Quaker Service Australia 
  264. Queenscliff Rural Australians for Refugees
  265. Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT) 
  266. Rasool Hussaini Plaster Setting 
  267. Rbn plumbing 
  268. Redlands for Refugees 
  269. RedR Australia 
  270. Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS) 
  271. Refugee and Immigration Legal Service (RAILS) 
  272. Refugee Art Project  
  273. Refugee Health Network Qld 
  274. Refugee Health, Tasmanian Health Service 
  275. Refugee Legal 
  276. Refugee Nurses Australia  
  277. Religions for Peace Australia
  278. Rights In Action Inc. 
  279. Robyn Fowkes Psychology Cootamundra
  280. Roseville Asylum Seeker and Refugee Support Group – Roseville Uniting Church 
  281. Rural Australians for Refugees 
  282. Rural Australians for Refugees Castlemaine Incorporated
  283. Safe Asylum, Launceston 
  284. Sahar Super Market NSW Pty Ltd
  285. Salaam Community 
  286. SBHOPTICAL  
  287. Scalabrinian Missionaries
  288. SCALES Community Legal Centre 
  289. Scrap Metal
  290. Settlement Council of Australia 
  291. Settlement Services International  
  292. Shepparton Interfaith Network
  293. Shia Association of Ahel e Byat Tasmania
  294. SIMNI Morton North 
  295. Sisters 4 Sustainability
  296. Sisters of Mercy  
  297. Sisters of Mercy Brisbane  
  298. Sisters of Saint Joseph 
  299. Sisters of the Good Samaritan 
  300. SJ Around the Bay – network of Catholic Parish Social Justice Groups in Diocese of Broken Bay 
  301. Soroptimist International Moreton North Inc (SIMNI) 
  302. Soroptimist International of Australia
  303. South Gippsland Rural Australians for Refugees (SGRAR) 
  304. Southern Downs Refugee and Migrant Network (SDRAMN) 
  305. Southern Melbourne Integrated Family Violence Partnership
  306. Southern Migrant and Refugee Centre 
  307. Speaking Up For You 
  308. Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre 
  309. St Columbas Parish North Leichhardt Social Justice Group 
  310. St Mary’s In Exile  
  311. St Vincent de Paul Society National Council  
  312. St Vincent de Paul Society New South Wales 
  313. St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria 
  314. St Vincent de Society SA Refugee and Asylum Seeker Service  
  315. Stafford Catholic Parish 
  316. STARTTS 
  317. Sunbears Paediatric Therapy
  318. Support Association for the Women of Afghanistan (SAWA) – NSW 
  319. Support Association for the Women of Afghanistan SAWA-Australia (SA) Inc 
  320. Survivors of Torture and Trauma Assistance and Rehabilitation Service 
  321. Sydney Metal Corp 
  322. Sydney Multicultural Community Services  
  323. Sydney Peace Foundation 
  324. Sydwide Scrap Car Removal pty Ltd
  325. Tamil Women Development Group  
  326. Tasmanian Asylum Seeker Support Network 
  327. The Bread and Butter Project 
  328. The Centre for Women and Co. 
  329. The Good Samaritans 
  330. The LBW Trust 
  331. The Refugee Health Network of Australia 
  332. The Separation Planner 
  333. The Social Outfit 
  334. The Social Responsibilities Committee, Anglican Church Southern Queensland
  335. The Tasmania Opportunity 
  336. The Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Inc. 
  337. The Welcome Group
  338. This Life 
  339. Tolo Supermarket  
  340. Tommie magazine 
  341. Training for Change
  342. Transparency International Australia 
  343. Uki Refugee Project 
  344. Unconcern Construction Pty Ltd  
  345. UNICEF Australia 
  346. Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA 
  347. Union of Australian Women (Qld)
  348. United Nations Association of Australia (WA)  
  349. United Workers Union 
  350. Uniting Church Action for Society and Environment 
  351. Uniting Church in Australia Assembly 
  352. Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Queensland
  353. UnitingVicTas 
  354. UnitingWorld 
  355. Verve Super 
  356. Victorian Refugee Health Network  
  357. Violence Prevention Australia 
  358. VMH Law
  359. Walli Asr Fresh Food and Butcher Shop  
  360. Walter Taylor Branch of the Queensland Labor Party 
  361. WaterAid Australia 
  362. Wayss Ltd
  363. Welcoming Australia 
  364. Western Region Ethnic Communities Council 
  365. Western Sydney University Persian Society 
  366. Whitlam Institute 
  367. Whittlesea Community Connections 
  368. WIRE  
  369. WIZO Australia   
  370. WLW Migration Lawyers
  371. Women in Adult and Vocational Education (WAVE) 
  372. Women’s Electoral Lobby Australia 
  373. Women’s Health Goulburn North East 
  374. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) – Australia 
  375. Women’s Network Australia 
  376. World Wellness Group Ltd 
  377. Wyndham Community and Education Centre 
  378. Your Dream Painting
  379. Zafar Painting 
Add your organisation's support here

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