Politics

Is Australia Doing Enough To Help Afghanistan’s People?

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Nearly 200,000 Australians have backed a campaign calling for the federal government to do more on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

The campaign ‘Action For Afghanistan’, which established the national petition, is being led by the Afghanistan-Australia Advocacy Network.

The campaign’s huge response so far has triggered what it’s calling a Week Of Action in the hope of applying even more pressure on the federal government to help the Afghan people.

As well as the petition, over 100 prominent Australians have signed an open letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Aussie actors, journalists, athletes and musicians are among the hundreds that have added their names to the letter, which basically calls on Morrison to make concrete plans to support Afghanistan’s people under the Taliban rule.

Australian of the Year Grace Tame, politician and former Olympian Nova Peris, and TV host Osher Günsberg are just a few of the high profile names involved.

Why Are People Trying To Flee Afghanistan?

The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan earlier this year led to tens of thousands of Afghan people trying to flee their homeland.

In early August, US forces successfully evacuated around 123,000 civilians from Kabul airport.

But horrible scenes of people desperately trying to board rescue planes before evacuation deadlines came into place highlighted the shrinking options for Afghans wanting to escape Taliban rule.

And concerns remain high for the 3.5 million Afghan people who have been forced to flee their homes within Afghanistan’s borders.

How Much Has Australia Done To Help?

So far the Australian government has offered to resettle 3,000 Afghans through humanitarian visas, in addition to the 4,100 people who were initially flown out of the country on evacuation flights.

But compared to Canada and the UK – both of which have pledged to resettle 20,000 Afghan refugees – Australia currently isn’t coming close to providing the same amount of support.

There have also been no offers of permanent resettlement for temporary visa holders who have already made it to Australia.

The AAAN’s petition, along with the open letter that’s been penned to the PM, are efforts to try and get the government to do more.

What Do People Want To See Happen?

The AAAN is run by the Afghanistan-Australian community who came to Australia as refugees or migrants and have lived more safely because of it.

The organisation has said that it would like to see the same for its community back in Afghanistan now.

Its petition is pushing the Australian government to commit to four key actions.

1. Increasing its intake of refugees from Afghanistan by an additional 20,000 people
2. Offering permanent protection to more than 5,100 refugees from Afghanistan, particularly for persecuted Hazara ethnic groups, who are currently on temporary protection visas in Australia
3. Prioritising family reunification visas
4. And lifting the ban on resettlement of refugees to Australia

It’s been almost twenty years since Australia became one of the first countries to join the US-led intervention to remove the Taliban from Afghanistan.

The AAAN argues that because of its involvement, the Australian Government has a moral duty to provide support to the people of Afghanistan today.