OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA – The Australian Church urges the government: “to welcome more Afghan refugees”

OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA – The Australian Church urges the government: “to welcome more Afghan refugees”

Sydney (Agenzia Fides) – “The magnitude of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan requires the urgent creation of additional places in Australian humanitarian reception. This is why the Bishops, together with other members of the Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA) and many other groups and organizations, call again on the government to welcome at least 20,000 additional people, in addition to the 15,000 already planned”. This is the appeal launched by the Bishop of Parramatta, Mgr. Vincent Long Van Nguyen, OFM Conv, Chairman of the Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service within the Australian Bishops’ Conference. The Australian Catholic Bishops expressly call on the country’s institutions to commit to guaranteeing the reception of a greater number of Afghan refugees, in an effort of national solidarity.
The appeal, sent to Fides, was launched after the federal government announced its intention to grant asylum, in the next four years, to 15,000 people fleeing Afghanistan, especially among those who had collaborated in humanitarian programs Australians. Msgr. Long Van Nguyen described the choice as positive, but not sufficient: “This government initiative represents good news, but it has limitations, as the places provided are only available for family reunification or pre-existing humanitarian visas. We need to intensify our compassion practices, not just adjust priorities in existing plans.” The announcement of the welcome measure was made in recent days by Federal Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, who outlined how the government would open doors to Afghans with ties to Australia: for example, Concerned former local employees or workers of Australian non-governmental organisations, as well as women and ethnic or social minorities. The news came shortly after the release of a report by the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Committee that found the Australian government failed to support thousands of
other Afghans who risked their lives helping the Australian Defense Force. According to local sources, the Interior Ministry has already received more than 32,500 applications on behalf of more than 145,000 fleeing Afghans.
From the very first moments of the Taliban’s entry into Kabul in August 2021, the Australian Church had come out in favor of welcoming refugees. In particular, Msgr. Mark Benedict Coleridge, Metropolitan Archbishop of Brisbane and President of the Australian Bishops’ Conference, said: “Time and time again in the past Australia has stepped forward to respond to major humanitarian crises: therefore, I urge the government to be generous also in this case. The Catholic realities are ready to help the institutions in the resettlement of refugees. It is moreover our moral duty to stand by those who, over the years, have supported the Australian military forces, who will most likely suffer reprisals for what they have done”. (LF-AP) ( Fides Agency 02/10/2022)


To share:

Comments are closed.