Afghanistan Refugee Crisis: How Can Australia Help?
Updated: Oct 13, 2021
On 15th August 2021, the terrorist group referred to as the Taliban seized control of Kabul. Almost immediately, International media outlets reported that thousands of Afghan people were left scrambling to Kabul Airport in a desperate attempt to board some of the last remaining flights out of Afghanistan before the Taliban blocked any chance of escape. We will never forget the images of Afghan people falling from planes risking their lives for a fleeting attempt at freedom, or young children being passed over brick walls to supposed safety by their parents not knowing if they will see them again. According to the UNHCR statistics, neighboring countries such as Pakistan and Iran have already received the highest number of Afghanistan’s refugees since 2020 and cannot cope with any further influx, however, given the current humanitarian crimes inflicted on people by the Taliban it would appear inevitable that this number will increase.
Furthermore, during the evacuation process, many western countries have already provided support to Afghan people seeking to flee the country such as the United States who has evacuated 123,000 people, Germany who has committed to providing refuge to 40,000 people, and the United Kingdom who has evacuated 15,000 people and will provide refuge to a further 20,000 people over the next 5 years. Further details regarding refugee statistics as reported by the BBC can be found here. In comparison to the above humanitarian effort, Australia evacuated approximately 4,200 people and at this stage, the government has committed to resettling a further 3,000 people at a minimum from within the existing Humanitarian Program quota. The Prime Minister described the figure of 3,000 places as the “floor and not the ceiling” and that they would be aiming for a much higher figure than that. The Prime Minister added that “if the Government needed to increase the overall size of the Humanitarian quota it would” however, any further commitment is yet to be announced.
Considering Australia’s involvement in Afghanistan in the past 20 years, and the existing humanitarian crisis brewing in Afghanistan, is the target of providing asylum to 3,000 Afghan people enough? Should Australia increase the refugee intake from Afghanistan especially during this crucial period, and what can the Australian Government do to ensure the safety of Afghan people trying to flee the extremist Taliban regime?
In this Webinar, we have invited prominent figures from different national and international organizations to answer these questions. The specific details of the event are as follows: • Date: Friday, 15th October 2021 • Time: 7 pm – 8:15 pm AEST • Online Webinar – YouTube Live Moderators:
Graham Thom - Refugee Coordinator, Amnesty International Australia
Dr Thom has worked as Amnesty International Australia’s Refugee Coordinator since May 2000, working on behalf of individual asylum seekers as well as on broader human rights issues relating to refugees. In 2000 Dr Thom completed his PhD at the University of Sydney’s Department of Government. He has visited detention centres in Australia, including those on Christmas Island and refugee camps and detention centres in the Netherlands, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kenya, Nauru and Thailand. Over the last eleven years Dr Thom has represented Amnesty International at the Annual Tripartite Consultations on Resettlement in Geneva. Dr Thom continues to give lectures and publish articles on refugee issues, both globally and domestically.
Paris Aristotle - Paris is CEO of the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Inc (Foundation House); Co-Chair of the Advisory Panel on Australia’s Resettlement of Afghan Nationals; and Chair of the Refugee and Migrant Services Advisory Council (RaMSAC). Paris Co-Chairs the Advisory Panel with Alison Larkins, Commonwealth Coordinator-General for Migrant Services, Department of Home Affairs. Learn More...
Dr Nooria Mehraby - Senior Clinician, STARTTS - Nooria Mehraby MD is a senior clinician and clinical trainer at STARTTS. Herself a former refugee, Nooria has more than 30 years of experience working with refugees both overseas and here in Australia. This includes over 25 years at STARTTS. Learn More...
Paul Power - CEO, Refugee Council of Australia - Paul Power has been CEO of the Refugee Council of Australia since 2006. As head of the national umbrella body on refugee policy, he helps to lead NGO advocacy with the Australian Government and United Nations agencies. Learn More...