Albanese Government Needs To Help More Displaced Afghans A Year After Fall Of Kabul
"It is the moral duty of Australia to play its role after 20 years of military involvement in Afghanistan."
There are renewed calls for the Federal Government to increase its intake of Afghan refugees on the one-year anniversary of the fall of Kabul on Monday, as interstate vigils took place demanding action for Afghanistan.
“The diaspora community called on the previous Morrison Government to grant them permanent protection, but one year [on], they are still living in uncertainty,” said Hazara man and human rights activist, Barat Ali Batoor. “It is time for the Albanese Government to show leadership and to listen to the diaspora community from Afghanistan in Australia. It is the moral duty of Australia to play its role after 20 years of military involvement in Afghanistan. We need action for Afghanistan immediately.”
15 August 2022 — Vigil for Afghanistan: Melbourne, Australia
— Sitarah Mohammadi ستاره محمدی (@sitarah_m) August 15, 2022
Between August and July, Australia has only granted just shy of 6000 permanent humanitarian visas to Afghan nationals, according to the latest figures from the Department of Home Affairs. However, as of August, nearly 48,000 applications on behalf of more than 200,000 applicants had been lodged — meaning that under three percent of people have been approved in the months gone by.
The Morrison Government had announced in March that a total 31,500 humanitarian and migration program places would be delivered over the next four years. As pointed out by the ABC, minus the visas already distributed, tens of thousands of Afghan nationals will inevitably be left behind with this cap.
Additionally, close to 60 percent of applications are yet to be registered in the department’s system in a massive backlog, according to SBS News.
An Afghanistan representative for the UN told the BBC that Afghans have been in “survival mode” in the last year, facing malnutrition, lack of access to essentials, and reduced human rights for women and minorities like the Hazara ethnic group. As of December, 3.5 million people have been internally displaced by the conflict, and 24 million people in Afghanistan are in need of vital humanitarian support, according to the UN Refugee Agency.
Hazara advocates Sitarah Mohammadi and Sajjad Askary wrote in the Guardian that the Albanese Government should offer 20,000 additional refugee and humanitarian visas for Afghanistan, and clarify whether they will honour their predecessor’s previous figure.
“The Labor government has the opportunity to transform this malevolent [Taliban] administration by adopting a humane approach which reflects Australian values,” they said on Monday.
“We urge the Albanese Government to immediately grant permanent protection and facilitate family reunification for Afghan refugees already living in our communities, and expedite processing of refugee and humanitarian visas for those facing grave danger in Afghanistan.”
Photo Credit: Sitarah Mohammadi/Twitter