Motion by Moreland City Council  – 7 September 2021

Motion by Moreland City Council  – 7 September 2021

That Council notes that that the Afghan refugee community has contributed enormously to the Australian community over many years and that Australia has a special moral obligation to rescue and assist Afghan people seeking refuge status, given the large number of Afghan people who assisted the Australian mission in Afghanistan, thus putting their lives in danger.

  1. Writes to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews and Immigration minister Alex Hawke calling on the government to:
  • Commit to an additional humanitarian intake of at least 20,000, prioritising the most vulnerable persecuted Afghans, similar to Canada’s announcement on 14 August 2021 accepting 20,000 Afghan refugees, and similar to Australia’s response to the Syrian conflict in 2015 in accepting 12,000 vulnerable Syrian refugees;
  • Expedite the resettlement of Afghan interpreters, guides and other personnel involved in Australia’s mission in Afghanistan, the families of Afghan refugees in Australia as well as human rights advocates, journalists, women and ethnic and religious groups facing discrimination and violence under the Taliban. Communities such as Hindus, Sikhs, and ethnic minority Hazaras are particularly at risk;
  • Urge governments in the region to keep borders open for people trying to flee persecution in Afghanistan, particularly Pakistan and Iran and increase aid to the region to assist people who have been displaced across borders and, wherever possible, support organisations still offering assistance within Afghanistan;
  • Abandon insistence that Afghans can only apply for asylum within Afghanistan and guarantee that Afghan asylum seekers who escape to neighbouring countries can apply for asylum and be accepted as refugees from those countries Lift the ban on resettlement of refugees to Australia through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Indonesia, a ban which has been in place since 2014. This ban continues to limit resettlement options for 10,000 Afghan refugees awaiting safety and protection;
  • Grant permanent protection to all Afghan refugees and asylum seekers who are currently on temporary protection and bridging visas;
  • Grant amnesty to all Afghan nationals currently in Australia who fear returning to Afghanistan; and
  • Release and grant visas to Afghan refugees and asylum seekers in detention and similarly bring to Australia and grant visas to any Afghan refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru and in PNG; prioritise the family reunification visas of Afghan-Australians, including those who are prevented from reuniting with their families due to a government ministerial directive that requires the Department of Home Affairs to deprioritise family reunion of hundreds of Afghans in Australia.
  • “That Australia does not in any way, offer any recognition to the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan, and continue to engage with humanitarian organisations to support the Afghan people and work within the United Nations to promote human rights, protection of cultural heritage and restoration of democracy.”
  1. Approach other member councils of the Mayoral Taskforce Supporting People Seeking Asylum about sending similar letters to the federal government calling for an additional humanitarian intake of at least 20,000 prioritising the most vulnerable persecuted Afghans.
  2. Reaches out to the Afghan community through our partners such as Merri Health, the Fawkner Services Network and the Asylum Seeker Welcome Centre and City of Greater Dandenong to ascertain if there is extra support that the local Afghan community needs.
  3. Support for Refugee Council of Australia’s call on Government to act now on Afghanistan by signing joint letter to all Parliamentarians
  4. As a Welcoming Cities member, accept the invitation by Welcoming International to join as signatories to the Mayors Migration Council (MMC) open letter entitled “Welcome Afghan Refugees Now.”

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