Refugee Action Collective Eurobodalla shares its deep concern for the people of Afghanistan as the Taliban takes control again. Memories resurface of the appalling treatment of women and minority groups and the extreme and barbaric punishments for minor rule breaking when they were last in power.
Given the tragic situation in Afghanistan we need to do all we can to help.
After our long involvement in the Vietnam war we accepted our responsibility and took in over 50,000 Vietnamese. We have been involved in the war in Afghanistan for 20 years. Many in our military feel a deep responsibility and connection with the people of Afghanistan. People who worked beside them, people whose lives they saw change for the better, women who stepped out from the shadows who are now facing an unknown and dangerous future.
We can open our hearts and our border to take in those facing life threatening danger by increasing the number of Afghan people we are prepared to resettle from 3,000 to 20,000.
There are over 5,000 Afghanis in Australia on temporary visas, some of them are still in immigration detention simply because they came by boat. These people, many from the persecuted Hazara community, need to know they will be safe permanently, they cannot return to Afghanistan and should not be left in limbo.
We can grant them permanent visas immediately.
One member of RAC Eurobodalla had a young Afghan refugee who had escaped the Taliban stay at her home during the early 2000's. He had been locked away in Baxter Detention Centre in his late teens and early twenties and suffered terrible PTSD and ongoing anxiety as a result of years of indefinite detention in Australia, and a fear of being returned to his death in Afghanistan.
Temporary visas leave a person in limbo unable to plan for their future and worrying about being returned to danger. It also means they are not able to reunite with their families who are in danger.
RAC Eurobodalla met a young Hazara man in Canberra who was one of the very few to gain permanent residency in Australia after many years waiting in Indonesia. We saw the pain and anxiety he went through during his long and protracted efforts to bring his wife and children to safety here.
We should change the rules and allow family reunions for the Afghans here who are currently unable to get their families to safety.
Australians are feeling a great deal of anguish at the terrible events in Afghanistan and we want our government to act with compassion and generosity.
One way our local community can show their care is by signing the Action For Afghanistan petition: https://www.change.org/p/prime-minister-scott-morrison-action-for-afghanistan
For more info https://www.actionforafghanistan.com.au