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

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