Over 300 organisations, businesses, and community groups call on all Parliamentarians to respond to the crisis in Afghanistan

Last Updated on 24/08/2021 by National Justice Project

Over 300 organisations, businesses, and community groups have signed on to a joint letter to all Federal MPs and Senators calling on them to take urgent action on the devastating situation in Afghanistan. The joint letter was sent to all Parliamentarians on 18 August and urges 7 practical steps that the Australian Government can take to provide safety for people from Afghanistan and to show leadership on the global stage.

George Newhose, National Justice Project CEO and Principal Solicitor, has urged the Government to take immediate action and for NJP supporters to write to their local MP:

Right now, Australia must act as a good global citizen and do all it can to protect Afghan people, especially those who put their lives at risk serving our troops. We can’t change the situation in Afghanistan, but our Government can take action to help protect Afghan people from harm. What is happening right now in Afghanistan is heart-breaking, but we must do everything in our power to help the Afghan people in this terrible hour.

The full letter and signatories follow below.

18 August 2021 

Dear Parliamentarian, 

Re: Seven urgent and practical steps Australia can take to provide safety and leadership on the situation in Afghanistan 

Australians are watching with alarm as the Taliban takes control of Afghanistan. The events are particularly distressing to members of Australia’s Afghan diaspora who are hearing directly from family members and friends about the terrible violence within the country. There are already many reports of executions and forced marriages of young women and girls.  

Years of work to support the education, safety and autonomy of Afghanistan’s women, including programs generously supported by Australian aid, is being destroyed and many people are in fear for their lives. They include people who have worked with Australian and other western governments and organisations as translators, security and support staff, NGO workers and journalists. Members of religious minorities are also at grave risk, including the many Shia members of the Hazara community. 

We, the undersigned organisations, businesses, and community groups, appreciate the Government’s existing effort in working to provide visas to locally engaged staff, and ask that you urgently intensify these efforts to help these people evacuate Afghanistan. We believe that Australia can help to provide international leadership through its own response and by encouraging other governments to act. Civil society groups in the Asia-Pacific region, refugee-led organisations such as the Asia Pacific Network of Refugees and members of Australia’s Afghan diaspora have shown wide consensus on seven important and urgent actions the Australian Government can take: 

  1. Do everything possible in coming days to evacuate people who are at grave risk within Afghanistan, including those who have worked for or assisted the Australian Government and Australian organisations (including the embassy, armed forces, NGOs and media), human rights defenders and women and girls whose lives and security are under great threat. 
  2. Urge governments in the region to keep borders open for people trying to flee persecution in Afghanistan, including and particularly Pakistan and Iran. 
  3. Offer additional refugee resettlement places for Afghan refugees immediately, as the Australian Government did in 2015 with 12,000 additional places for Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Canada has already announced its commitment of 20,000 additional places for Afghan refugees. Australia could match this offer and urge other resettlement states to do the same, sending a strong and positive message to states receiving Afghan refugees that the world is ready to share responsibility in the protection of lives at risk. 
  4. As many people are now at risk from hunger and lack of shelter due to their forced displacement, immediately increase Australian aid to the region to support programs to assist people who have been displaced across borders and, wherever possible, support organisations still offering assistance within Afghanistan.   
  5. We welcome the extension of temporary visas of all Afghan citizens in Australia announced by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke on 17 August. A vital next step of this is to ensure that people whose asylum claims have been previously rejected be supported to submit new claims in the light of the changed circumstances in Afghanistan. 
  6. Extend permanent protection to 4300 Afghans on temporary protection visas, recognising that members of this group are unlikely to be able to return in safety for many years to come and need the assurance that they can continue to live in Australia without the constant fear of forced return. 
  7. Assist Afghan Australians, including people with temporary and permanent protection visas, with urgent family reunion applications for relatives who are at particular risk, as members of minorities targeted by the Taliban or people likely to be targeted because of their connections to western nations. This should include giving priority to finalising family reunion applications which have previously been lodged but are waiting on a decision from the Department of Home Affairs. 

We urge you to address these critical priorities.   

Signed by: 

  • Accessible Diversity Services Initiative Limited (ADSI)  
  • Accord Tiling Pty Ltd 
  • Act for Peace  
  • ACT Hazara Community Inc
  • Adventist Development and Relief Agency Australia Ltd.
  • Afghan Australian Development Organisation 
  • Afghan Australian Initiative Inc 
  • Afghan Sufra Pty Ltd  
  • Afghan Traditional  
  • African Australian Hunting and Drumming Group 
  • Alliance of Philippine Community Organisations Inc.(APCO) 
  • ALMAS Medical Group 
  • Amnesty International Australia 
  • AMPARO Advocacy In 
  • Amz Paint and Design Pty Ltd
  • ANCORW (Australia Committee On Refugee Women)
  • Anglican Board of Mission – Australia Limited 
  • APNOR (Asia Pacific Network of Refugees)
  • Archdiocese of Brisbane Catholic Education
  • Architects for Peace 
  • Armidale Rural Australians for Refugees 
  • Armidale Sanctuary Humanitarian Settlement, Inc. 
  • Association for Services to Torture and Trauma Survivors 
  • Association of Women Educators  
  • Assyrian Australian Association – Assyrian Resource Centre 
  • Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) 
  • Asylum Seekers Centre 
  • Au Bro Construction Pty Ltd  
  • Auburn Small Community Organisation Network (ASCON) Inc,  
  • Ausco Electrical Group 
  • Australasian Society of HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine 
  • Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Office for Justice, Ecology and Peace 
  • Australian Christian Churches
  • Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce 
  • Australian Council for International Development 
  • Australian Council for Tamil Refugees 
  • Australian Council of Social Service 
  • Australian Education Union (AEU) 
  • Australian Gender Equality Council 
  • Australian Global Health Alliance 
  • Australian Lawyers for Human Rights 
  • Australian Lutheran World Service 
  • Australian Network of Museums for Peace 
  • Australian Refugee Association  
  • Australian Services Union 
  • Australian Women Lawyers Ltd  
  • Australian Women’s Health Network 
  • AVI 
  • A1 Contracting Group Pty Ltd 
  • A1 Spare Parts Pty Ltd  
  • Baba Mazari Foundation Inc 
  • Balmain For Refugees
  • Baptist World Aid Australia 
  • Bbr Bricklaying Pty Ltd 
  • Bendigo Amnesty Group 
  • Bennelong Friends of Refugees 
  • Beyond the Orphanage Foundation 
  • Blue Mountains Refugee Support Group
  • Borough Of Queenscliffe
  • Bosco Social Justice Group, Engadine 
  • BPW Australia (Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs) 
  • Bridge for Asylum Seekers Incorporated 
  • Bridging Lanka Ltd 
  • Brien Holden Foundation 
  • Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project (BASP) 
  • Brisbane On-Arrival Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Group 
  • Brisbane Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Network (BRASS) 
  • Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) 
  • Burnet Institute 
  • Byron Friends of Palestine 
  • Cabrini Outreach 
  • Canberra Refugee Support 
  • CARAD – Centre for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees 
  • CareerSeekers New Australian Internship Program 
  • Caritas Australia 
  • Castlemaine RAR 
  • Catholic Social Services Victoria 
  • CatholicCare Toowoomba and SW Qld  
  • Centre for Human Rights Education, Curtin University 
  • Centre for Multicultural Youth 
  • Circle Green Community Legal
  • Circle of Friends Australia 
  • Cisarua Learning
  • City of Hobart
  • City of Port Adelaide Enfield
  • cohealth 
  • Communify Qld. 
  • CommUnity Construction 
  • Community Information and Support Victoria
  • Community Migrant Resource Centre 
  • Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia 
  • Community Resource Unit  
  • Companion House 
  • COTA NT 
  • Creating Space Project 
  • Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney 
  • Diaspora Action Australia  
  • Diplomacy Training Program 
  • Disaster Relief Australia
  • Door of Hope Australia Inc. 
  • Eastwood Uniting Church 
  • Edmund Rice Centre for Justice & Community Education
  • Edmund Rice Centre Western Australia 
  • Elders Real Estate Goulburn
  • Eleven Collective  
  • End Child Detention Coalition Australia
  • Epoch Geotechnical Services Pty Ltd 
  • Essential Electric Solutions Pty Ltd  
  • Fairtrade ANZ 
  • FairTrade Films 
  • Fasttransport Pty Ltd 
  • Federal Loves Refugees 
  • Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia 
  • Filipino Women Support Group MacArthur 
  • Forcibly Displaced People Network
  • Forum of Australian Services for Survivors of Torture   
  • Free To Feed 
  • Ghan Roofing  
  • Global Learning Centre 
  • Good Return 
  • Good Samaritan Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support Network 
  • Good Shepherd Parish Plumpton 
  • Greater Dandenong City Council
  • Green Community 
  • Green Connect 
  • Hagar Australia  
  • Hagar International Foundation
  • Hazara Women of Australia 
  • Hazarajat Transport Pty Ltd  
  • HealthServe Australia 
  • Hojat Migration Agent  
  • Horn of Africa Relief and Development Agency 
  • HOST International Ltd 
  • House of Welcome 
  • Human Rights Council of Australia 
  • Human Rights Law Centre 
  • Hunar Symposia 
  • Ilyas Auto Dismantlers Pty Ltd 
  • Imam Ali Ltd 
  • Immigrant Women’s Support Service 
  • Immigration Advice and Rights Centre 
  • Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) 
  • Indigo Foundation 
  • Inner West Council
  • Institute for Human Secutiy and Social Change, La Trobe University 
  • Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of Australia and Papua New Guinea 
  • International Commission of Jurists Australia 
  • International Detention Coalition (IDC)  
  • International Justice Mission Australia 
  • International Volunteers for Peace 
  • International Women’s Development Agency 
  • Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia  
  • John Green Tiling 
  • Josephite Action Group (JAG) 
  • Josephite Justice Network (JJN) 
  • Josephite Mission and History Centre 
  • Just Peace Queensland Inc 
  • Justice and Peace Office, Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney 
  • Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, UNSW Sydney 
  • Kapit-bahayan Cooperative Ltd 
  • Kateb Hazara Association  
  • Kateb Hazara Organisation  
  • Katib Hazara 
  • Kyeema Foundation 
  • Leeton Shire Council 
  • Liberty Victoria 
  • Life Without Barriers 
  • Live and Learn Environmental Education 
  • Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services 
  • Loreto Sisters 
  • Lutheran Church of Australia 
  • M4 Car Removal  
  • Mary Ward International Australia 
  • Medical Association for Prevention of War 
  • Melaleuca Australia 
  • Mercy Community Romero Centre 
  • Mercy Works Ltd  
  • Metro Assist 
  • Metro Express Car Removals 
  • Micah Australia 
  • Migrant and Refugee North Metropolitan Perth WA Conference 
  • Migrant Resource Centre Tasmania 
  • Migrant Women In Business 
  • Migration Institute of Australia  
  • Missionaries of the Sacred Heart Justice and Peace Centre 
  • Motivation Australia
  • MRC Northern Tas Inc 
  • MRZ Wreckers Pty Ltd
  • MTR Painting and Decorating  
  • Multicultural Assistance Task Force (MATF) 
  • Multicultural Council of Wagga Wagga Inc 
  • Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association 
  • Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network 
  • Multicultural Youth Affairs Network (MYAN NSW) 
  • Murdoch Children’s Research Institute 
  • Nasle Baba Foundation (NBF) 
  • National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) 
  • National Council of Jewish Women of Australia 
  • National Justice Project 
  • National Refugee-led Advisory and Advocacy Group 
  • Nawai Bricklaying  
  • Northern Settlement Services Ltd 
  • NSW Car Removals  
  • NSW Teachers Federation 
  • NSWCCL 
  • NT Working Women’s Centre 
  • NTCOSS 
  • Oaktree 
  • Older Women’s Network NSW 
  • OLQP Social Justice Group
  • Omex Tiling Pty Ltd 
  • One World Metal Recycling Pty Ltd  
  • Our Lady of Dolours Chatswood Social Justice Ministry 
  • Overseas Services to Survivors of Torture and Trauma 
  • Oxfam Australia 
  • PaCSIA (Peace and Conflict Studies Institute Australia) 
  • Palmera  
  • Parkinson Dental 
  • Partner Housing Australasia (Building) Incorporated 
  • Pax Christi Australia 
  • Pax Christi Queensland
  • Peace, Justice, Ecology – Diocese of Parramatta 
  • People with Disability Australia 
  • Plan International Australia 
  • Pottsville Refugee Support Group
  • Precious Renovations
  • Premier Construction Solutions 
  • Presentation Sisters Queensland 
  • Puffling 
  • Qh Electrical
  • Quaker Service Australia 
  • Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT) 
  • Rasool Hussaini Plaster Setting 
  • Rbn plumbing 
  • Redlands for Refugees 
  • RedR Australia 
  • Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS) 
  • Refugee and Immigration Legal Service (RAILS) 
  • Refugee Art Project  
  • Refugee Council of Australia 
  • Refugee Health Network Qld 
  • Refugee Health, Tasmanian Health Service 
  • Refugee Legal 
  • Refugee Nurses Australia  
  • Rights In Action Inc. 
  • Roseville Asylum Seeker and Refugee Support Group – Roseville Uniting Church 
  • Rural Australians for Refugees 
  • Rural Australians for Refugees Castlemaine Incorporated
  • Safe Asylum, Launceston 
  • Sahar Super Market NSW Pty Ltd
  • Salaam Community 
  • SBHOPTICAL  
  • SCALES Community Legal Centre 
  • Scrap Metal
  • Settlement Council of Australia 
  • Settlement Services International  
  • SIMNI Morton North 
  • Sisters 4 Sustainability
  • Sisters of Mercy  
  • Sisters of Mercy Brisbane  
  • Sisters of Saint Joseph 
  • Sisters of the Good Samaritan 
  • SJ Around the Bay – network of Catholic Parish Social Justice Groups in Diocese of Broken Bay 
  • Soroptimist International Moreton North Inc (SIMNI) 
  • Soroptimist International of Australia 
  • Southern Downs Refugee and Migrant Network (SDRAMN) 
  • Southern Migrant and Refugee Centre 
  • Speaking Up For You 
  • Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre 
  • St Columbas Parish North Leichhardt Social Justice Group 
  • St Mary’s In Exile  
  • St Vincent de Paul Society National Council  
  • St Vincent de Paul Society New South Wales 
  • St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria 
  • St Vincent de Society SA Refugee and Asylum Seeker Service  
  • Stafford Catholic Parish 
  • STARTTS 
  • Support Association for the Women of Afghanistan (SAWA) – NSW 
  • Support Association for the Women of Afghanistan SAWA-Australia (SA) Inc 
  • Survivors of Torture and Trauma Assistance and Rehabilitation Service 
  • Sydney Metal Corp 
  • Sydney Multicultural Community Services  
  • Sydney Peace Foundation 
  • Sydwide Scrap Car Removal pty Ltd
  • Tamil Women Development Group  
  • Tasmanian Asylum Seeker Support Network 
  • The Bread and Butter Project 
  • The Centre for Women and Co. 
  • The Good Samaritans 
  • The LBW Trust 
  • The Refugee Health Network of Australia 
  • The Separation Planner 
  • The Social Outfit 
  • The Social Responsibilities Committee, Anglican Church Southern Queensland
  • The Tasmania Opportunity 
  • The Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Inc. 
  • This Life 
  • Tolo Supermarket  
  • Tommie magazine 
  • Training for Change
  • Transparency International Australia 
  • Uki Refugee Project 
  • Unconcern Construction Pty Ltd  
  • UNICEF Australia 
  • Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA 
  • Union of Australian Women (Qld)
  • United Nations Association of Australia (WA)  
  • United Workers Union 
  • Uniting Church Action for Society and Environment 
  • Uniting Church in Australia Assembly 
  • Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Queensland
  • UnitingVicTas 
  • UnitingWorld 
  • Verve Super 
  • Victorian Refugee Health Network  
  • Violence Prevention Australia 
  • Walli Asr Fresh Food and Butcher Shop  
  • Walter Taylor Branch of the Queensland Labor Party 
  • WaterAid Australia 
  • Welcoming Australia 
  • Western Region Ethnic Communities Council 
  • Western Sydney University Persian Society 
  • Whitlam Institute 
  • Whittlesea Community Connections 
  • WIRE  
  • WIZO Australia   
  • Women in Adult and Vocational Education (WAVE) 
  • Women’s Electoral Lobby Australia 
  • Women’s Health Goulburn North East 
  • Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) – Australia 
  • Women’s Network Australia 
  • World Wellness Group Ltd 
  • Wyndham Community and Education Centre 
  • Your Dream Painting
  • Zafar Painting