The Fall of Kabul: A Year On

16 August 2022

Related: Advocacy

August 15 marks one year since the Taliban’s violent takeover of Afghanistan, which has led to gross human rights violations by the Taliban, including extrajudicial killings of former security forces, detention and torture of journalists, limitations on women’s public participation, and persecution of marginalised communities. JRS Australia urges the Australian government to move swiftly to honour its promise to help at-risk Afghans.

One year since Afghans facing persecution started applying for Special Humanitarian Visas, it is unclear how many visas have been issued. JRS Australia calls on the government to move swiftly in processing these applications and to prioritize those in imminent danger, members of marginalized communities, at-risk women, and those with ties to Australia, including families of refugees holding temporary protection.

Research by the Refugee Council of Australia shows that Australia lags behind Canada, the UK, Germany and the US in resettling at-risk Afghans, moving far too slowly to bring to safety those who qualify for protection under Australia’s humanitarian program. The Taliban are intensifying their crackdown on people at risk, with the Hazara community also face widespread attacks against their schools and places of worship from ISIS. Those Afghans who have relocated to other countries in the region are facing increasingly distressed situations
as financial and social hardships grow. Australia must move quickly to respond to the need to safeguard Afghans at risk.

“Australia is morally obliged to do more to stand by the people of Afghanistan facing immediate danger,” said Tamara Domicelj, Country Director of JRS Australia.

Meanwhile, here in Australia there are more than 19,000 people, mostly from Afghanistan, who currently hold Temporary Protection Visas (TPV) or Safe Haven Enterprise Visas (SHEV). Over the last decade, Australian policies have enforced their separation from family, with a devastating human toll.

JRS Australia calls on the government to move swiftly to uphold its commitment to transition all TPV/SHEV visa holders to permanent residency and put in place a bespoke mechanism for family reunification to avoid further prolonging the enforced separation of families.

“Scaling Australia’s response will require additional staff and resources, and we note that measures are being taken to this end. But time is of the essence now. Australia can and must devote the resources required to fulfil its promise to end the cruelty of TPVs and SHEVs,” said