Australia needs an emergency humanitarian intake plan for people in Afghanistan at risk from the Taliban

Media Release
16 August 2021

The Australian Government must immediately implement a substantial resettlement plan, over and above the current intake cap, to evacuate and grant protection visas for people at risk of violence and death from the Taliban.

A plan similar to the one where Australia resettled 12,000 Syrians at the height of the conflict there.

Human rights advocates, journalists, women professionals and activists and people who assisted the Australian Defence Force are at extreme risk, as well as ethnic and religious groups facing discrimination and violence under the Taliban.

Communities such as Hindus and Sikhs, and ethnic minority Hazaras, who have historically experienced atrocities of ethnic violence at the hands of the Taliban, and had already begun to be attacked before the withdrawal of U.S. troops began.

Attacks have intensified after the withdrawal announcement, with targeted killings and bomb blasts in Hazara communities.

Canada over the weekend offered resettlement to more than 20,000 people at risk. The U.S. is accelerating the visa application process due to the unfolding and extraordinary humanitarian crisis, leaving 100s of thousands of people displaced or trapped, facing violence and certain death. .

Australia’s response has been grossly inadequate, lagging and secretive, when compared to other countries, providing around 570 protection visas since April 15.

There is no transparency for the Australian public on what the Government is doing to evacuate and protect people.

Barat Batoor, Organiser at Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) said:

“Australia is home to the fourth-largest Hazara population in the world. There are 1000s of people in the Australian community who have family members at grave risk right now from the Taliban.”

“We need to know what the Australian Government is doing alongside the international community to protect people in this emergency.”

“As an Australian- Hazara I call on the Australian Government to respond to this international humanitarian crisis urgently with a clear plan to evacuate and protect as many people as possible, especially those most at risk from the harm of the Taliban.”

Jana Favero, ASRC Director of Advocacy and Campaigns at ASRC said:

“The news coming from Afghanistan is extremely worrying, and the Australian community is deeply concerned that we are not doing enough to protect lives.”

“Australia needs a transparent and effective plan for a substantial emergency intake of people at risk from the Taliban to respond adequately to the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. ”

“The Morrison Government has routinely cut Australia’s refugee intake and in the most recent budget intake, it was capped at only 13,750. Any increase in the humanitarian visas from Afghanistan must be additional, and cannot be in lieu of annual commitments.

“This is the first immediate step we must take, followed by close consultation with the community of people from Afghanistan in Australia to extend a multifaceted humanitarian response plan.”


Media contact: Marcella Brassett on 0411 026 142

Photograph by Barat Batoor in Kabul, Afghanistan (2010)

Share Button
Leave a reply