Call to take extra 20,000 Afghan refugees

By Tiffanie Turnbull
Advocates are calling for Australia to take in at least an extra 20,000 refugees from Afghanistan. (AAP)

Activists have called on the federal government to increase Australia's intake of refugees from Afghanistan.

A small group gathered in Brisbane on Sunday, also campaigning for permanent visas for all Afghan asylum seekers and refugees, and an end to the ban on refugees arriving from Indonesia.

About 122,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since the Taliban retook the capital of Kabul in August.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has promised 3000 places will be allocated to Afghan refugees in Australia's humanitarian migration program this financial year, but has rebuffed calls for an extra intake.

However, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has recently flagged that the federal government's initial commitment could rise to 5000 people.

The Refugee Action Coalition (RAC), along with churches and human rights groups, have called for a special intake of at least 20,000 people.

Advocates are urging Australia to up its intake of Afghan refugees from 3,000 to 20,000. (AAP)

The UK and Canada have promised to grant safe haven to 20,000 refugees looking to escape the new regime.

Hazara community elder Hassan Ghoulam spoke at the rally, saying Australia has a particular responsibility to accept Afghan refugees given its role in the conflict.

"Australia has to compensate for this decision that they have made," he told AAP.

"We should do something much more than just 5000 (people) even."

The Taliban is going from home to home, picking people up in the middle of the night and disappearing them, he said, and Australia's reluctance to increase its intake is leaving families to die.

"People in Afghanistan matter as much as any other life."

A rally for Afghan women is planned in Brisbane on Sunday, September 19. More interstate rallies are being planned for as soon as lockdowns lift in Sydney and Melbourne.


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