Catholic communities urge Australian Government to do more to protect people from Afghanistan

18 May 2024

Approximately 600 leaders from Catholic communities across Australia have signed letters urging the Australian Government to do more to protect people from Afghanistan, as the country’s humanitarian and human rights crisis worsens. The letters call on the Australian Government to commit to providing permanent protection to refugees on temporary visas in Australia; expedite family reunion pathways for families of people from Afghanistan in Australia; and commit to an additional intake of 20,000 resettlement places for people from Afghanistan. The letters are addressed to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and key Government MPs across Australia.

Nuns, congregational leaders, priests, school principals, teachers, parish pastoral council members and social justice members, Diocesan representatives, CEOs, and prominent local business people of Catholic faith have signed each letter.

The letter-writing initiative is part of a larger national Catholic response to the Afghanistan crisis coordinated by the Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA), which is co-convened by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia and Jesuit Social Services. The response is in solidarity with the calls to action and priorities of the Afghanistan diaspora in Australia, as expressed by the Action For Afghanistan campaign. A range of Catholic agencies are key organising partners in the Christians United for Afghanistan campaign, through which thousands of Christians and hundreds of local Churches have signed a petition calling for more compassion and leadership for people from Afghanistan.

Zaki Haidari, member of Diaspora Advocacy Network of Afghanistan (DANA), Leadership Coordinator, JRS Australia, and RACS Australia Ambassador said:

“As a refugee from Afghanistan living here for the past 9 years on a temporary visa, it is heartening to see the strong sense of solidarity from Catholic and other faith communities in Australia in this time of need for our community. We note in particular the strong call for refugees from Afghanistan already in Australia to have access to permanence and family reunion pathways, and for Australia to introduce an additional intake of 20,000 resettlement places for refugees from Afghanistan. We also note the ongoing offers of practical support from Church agencies on the ground.”

Read the full media release here.

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Nishadh Rego