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

Almost 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.

Each letter has been signed by 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.

Letters note that “the diaspora in Australia is suffering acutely from afar, and that people seeking asylum and refugees on temporary visas are in situations of particular vulnerability, having lived in limbo for up to ten years, often enduring protracted separation from loved ones.”

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.

It follows a call from Archbishop Mark Coleridge, President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC), for the Australian Government “to be generous” in its response to the crisis, and Archbishop Anthony Fisher’s special appeal in support of people from Afghanistan.

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.

See the full media release from Jesuit Refugee Service HERE.