CAPSA urges Federal Government to do more to protect Afghan refugees

21 September 2021

The Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA), representing leaders across the Catholic Church, health, education, refugee and social services, has called on the Morrison Federal Government to guarantee permanent visas for Afghans already in the country under temporary protection or currently being processed, and increase its intake of humanitarian refugees from Afghanistan.

The call follows a letter from CAPSA, Co-Chaired by JRS Australia and Jesuit Social Services, to Ministers Hawke and Andrews earlier this week on the situation in Afghanistan, and affirms our solidarity with sisters and brothers from Afghanistan.

CAPSA Co-Chair and Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia Country Director Tamara Domicelj said that the Afghan diaspora, including refugees on temporary visas and people seeking asylum, contribute significantly to Australia and deserve certainty and dignity in their time of need.

“There are more than 5,100 Afghans, most of whom have been assessed as refugees, who demonstrably cannot return to Afghanistan, but are in long-term limbo. They have lived, worked, studied, volunteered and contributed to Australia for up to ten years and must be granted permanent protection visas so that they can rebuild their lives permanently,” said Ms. Domicelj.

Bishop of Parramatta, Vincent Long, called on the government to show the same compassion his own family was shown when fleeing Vietnam in the 1970s.

“I myself was a refugee once. I too fled by boat in the wake of the Fall of Saigon and the end of a protracted war in which Australia had been involved,” says Bishop Long. “My family was welcomed into Australia at a very difficult time. This is also a pivotal moment for us to step up and support those in need in Afghanistan as their country is irrevocably changed in front of their eyes. I hope to see the same level of bipartisan support for Afghan refugees now as there was for Vietnamese refugees then.”

Read the full media release here.