Bring hope to Afghan refugees before Christmas
Christmas is coming, but for the growing number of displaced Afghan refugees, the coming of winter will bring further hardship.
There are 2.6 million Afghan refugees worldwide and 3.5 million internally displaced people within Afghanistan, with the numbers rising rapidly. The health care system is on the point of collapse and food shortages are looming.
The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce (ACRT) is asking church members in Australia to contact their local MP asking them to voice their support for a generous response to Afghan refugees
UCA President Rev Sharon Hollis encouraged Uniting Church members to join in this action.
“As we frantically prepare for Christmas celebrations that will celebrate God’s desire for peace and joy in the world, this is one way we can show God’s love to those who need hope right now,” said Rev Hollis.
“The coming of Christ into the world, bringing the good news of God’s abundant love for all, compels us to stand in solidarity with those who are voiceless. The people of Afghanistan seeking safety and refuge need our voices right now.”
ACRT Chairperson and Assembly Associate General Secretary Rob Floyd said it was important local MPs heard from constituents before Christmas, urging a speedy response from the Government.
“The situation for Afghan refugees is worsening. We must do whatever we can to bring people to safety and to grant permanent protection to those already living in Australia.”
The ACRT has asked people to write a heart-felt letter to the Prime Minister and their local MP, whatever their political persuasion, to ask the Government to announce a further generous response to Afghan refugees.
The specific things to ask for includes:
- Request that the government grant all the people from Afghanistan who are already in Australia on temporary visas permanent protection with full residency rights.
- Request that the government set and announce a compassionate and appropriate intake number of at least 20,000 for Afghan refugees to be settled in Australia over the next few years. This will give hope and reassurance to already traumatized people who are living in fear and insecurity.
- Thank the government for the life-changing announcement that fully vaccinated refugee and humanitarian visa holders will be able to enter Australia from 1 December 2021. This brings hope for 9,500 refugees who were previously approved to come to Australia and have been waiting to enter the country since March 2020.
- Assure your local MP that you/your Church/your congregation/your community [use the term applicable in your situation] will be ready to assist with the welcome and settlement of refugees in your area.
For more information about what to include in the letter, and to find contact details for Senators and MPs, go to the National Council of Churches in Australia website.
Pray for Afghan refugees and Afghan churches
(from the Refugee Prayer Guide from the Synod of South Australia)
Pray for Afghan people fleeing the country to find refuge quickly. Some who had lived in
Australia since the previous war years are still struggling with visa’s not processed, families not being allowed to join them, or are struggling anew as a mother, sister or brother sought by the Taliban could not escape in time. Communication lines are often cut, and many families do not know where relatives in Afghanistan are. Please pray for the provision of safe and welcoming communities, as well as compassionate assistance in the months and years to come. Pray for the Afghan church and believers who remain in the country, especially in their work with other faith-traditions to stand in solidarity with those with goodwill and to be agents of hope.