The Morrison Government’s response concerning people seeking asylum and refugees from Afghanistan has been grossly inadequate

Media Release
19 August 2021

The Morrison Government’s response to the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan has been woefully inadequate failing to sufficiently increase humanitarian visa intake or guarantee permanent protection to people seeking asylum and refugees from Afghanistan in Australia.

Community groups and people from Afghanistan have been calling on the Government to, at the very least, provide an additional 20,000 humanitarian visas to people from Afghanistan, matching Canada’s plan and reflecting Australia’s previous increases in humanitarian visa intake during crises including Syria in 2015, Vietnam in 1975-1980 and after Tiananmen Square in 1989.

The Government must also provide permanent protection to refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia and bring the families of refugees from Afghanistan to Australia immediately.

Despite these clear and precedented asks the Morrison Government has failed to act on these calls and only managed to get 430 people from Afghanistan to Australia since April.

While the Government has announced that 3,000 people from Afghanistan will be provided humanitarian visas, this will be part of the current humanitarian intake of 13,750. Humanitarian visas provided to people from Afghanistan must be in addition to the intake cap which has been slashed under the Morrison Government by 5,000 in the past year alone.

Furthermore, the Government has said that it will not provide permanent visas for the 4,427 people in Australia from Afghanistan recognised as refugees on temporary protection visas.

The Government has also not provided permanent visas for the 15 people from Afghanistan who are still in offshore processing in Nauru and Papua New Guinea, as well as around 50 people from Afghanistan who are currently held in immigration detention.

A petition and open letter, initiated by the Afghan Australian Advocacy Network, a grassroots network led by people from Afghanistan, calling on the Government to immediately act has gained over 100,000 signatures in 24 hours. This shows overwhelming community support and public pressure for a compassionate, urgent and moral response to the crisis in Afghanistan.

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

“The ask from the community of people from Afghanistan is urgent. Prime Minister Scott Morrison should show some leadership and empathy towards the people of Afghanistan who are at risk of being persecuted.”

“We shouldn’t be surprised that the Taliban may carry on other mass atrocities in the coming days and weeks and the world may witness another genocide of the minorities such as the Hazaras who have already experienced this in the past.”

“I am very disappointed in the response so far. It is not time to play politics. It is a genuine humanitarian crisis. This crisis needs extremely urgent attention and the government should take action now.”

Sajjad Askary, deputy chair of Asia, New Zealand and the Pacific working group at the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network said:

“The persecuted ethnic and religious minority, the Hazara population, have already experienced slaughter at the hands of the Taliban due to their religion as Shia Muslims and ethnic identity as Hazaras; in the 1990s, thousands of Hazara were massacred in a number of days. The Hazara are now at risk once again – as potential victims of genocide.”

“The Australian Government can and must act now and grant humanitarian visas to all those in Afghanistan who face violence, persecution and potential genocide.”

Saajeda Samaa, law student and human rights advocate said:

“The Australian Government needs to understand the urgency of the situation in Afghanistan and act now to protect human lives through practical humanitarian response in terms of providing safe passage for the most vulnerable.”

“We are already hearing from locals that Taliban have started looking for people who have worked with Government and international organizations”

“The Australian Government must have empathy and provide urgent and safe humanitarian passage to the most vulnerable groups in Afghanistan, in particular minorities targeted for their ethnicity and women under Taliban rule.”


Media contact: Sam Brennan on 0428 973 324

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