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The Afghanistan crisis: it’s time to give refugees a permanent home

It has been almost four months since the fall of Kabul and the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.

We have witnessed the devastating impact this has had on the people of Afghanistan – those who are stranded there, those who are trying to escape and those who can only watch on from other countries like Australia.

The Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA), a campaign Jesuit Social Services co-convenes with Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Australia, recently held a webinar called A Call for Prayer and Action for Afghanistan. The event brought together over 200 members of the CAPSA and wider Australian community to hear from expert speakers and collectively take action.

Attendees were fortunate to hear from a range of moving and insightful speakers, including Shabnam Safa, Chair of the National Refugee Advisory and Advocacy Group, who reflected that “there is not a single person from Afghanistan who has not been impacted”.

Participants also heard from Zaki Haidari, JRS Australia’s Refugee Leadership Coordinator, who lives in Australia as a Hazara refugee on temporary protection. Zaki reflected on the negative impact that being on temporary protection has had on him and thousands of others, noting that “we cannot build our lives here”. Multiple studies have upheld that using temporary protection has an overwhelmingly negative impact on the mental health of recipients.

Zaki left webinar participants with a rallying call to urge the Federal Government to provide permanent protection to refugees, and in particular Hazara refugees impacted by the Afghanistan crisis, living in Australia “so that they can start their life once and for all… at least then we will have a place to call permanent home”.

For more information about CAPSA, please visit capsa.org.au