Catholics Respond to Humanitarian Crisis in Afghanistan

Afghanistan BorderCrossing Pakistan
 

CARITAS: Australian Government must respond to unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

As we are continuing to see on the news, families are fleeing their homes, their livelihoods, and their loved ones in Afghanistan after the lightning speed return to power by the Taliban, the fundamentalist faction that has now regained power after 20 years.

“It is vital for the Australian Government to respond with compassion to this unfolding humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan,” said Kirsty Robertson, CEO of Caritas Australia.

“There was a spike of 29 per cent in civilian casualties this year compared to last year, as well as interruptions to social services and losses of income, even before the recent takeover – and now things are only going to get worse. The impacts of COVID-19, prolonged conflict and drought means that hundreds of thousands of people are now facing an uncertain future, where they may not have access to shelter, food, clean water, health care or sanitation for a prolonged period of time.”

“It is going to be harder than ever to reach vulnerable people now that the Taliban is back in power. Already organisations on the ground are scrambling to get emergency supplies out to people, setting aside their education and health programs to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs from this crisis.”

“Our government needs to increase aid to Afghanistan so that women and children in Afghanistan can receive protection and meet their basic needs, otherwise we’re looking at a generation who will potentially experience widespread violence, child labour, early and forced marriages, and sexual exploitation – without the vital support they need.”

“As a nation, we have to step up and offer additional resettlement places for Afghan refugees, as we did in 2015 for Syrian and Iraqi refugees,” said Ms. Robertson. “If Canada has already committed to 20,000 additional places for Afghan refugees, we could match this offer to show the international community that we will help alleviate the pressures on Iran and Pakistan (who are currently hosting more than two million Afghan refugees) to respond to this humanitarian crisis.”

CAPSA (Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum – including Caritas, Vinnies and many more) has made it easy for you to add your voice to call for an increased humanitarian intake and guarantee to visa holders. Go to Action for Afghanistan - CAPSA Action for Afghanistan– CAPSA

Caritas Australia is raising funds to support vulnerable communities in Afghanistan. You can donate at www.caritas.org.au to the Asia Regional Appeal  or  call  1800 024 413.  

Similarly, Archbishop Coleridge, in a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week, said the Australian Government should provide at least 20,000 humanitarian places for Afghans in the wake of the Taliban takeover, noting there has been “an outpouring of concern for the people of Afghanistan”.

And Bishop Vincent Long, Chair of the Bishops’ Commission for SJ, Mission & Service, has issued a statement.