Inquiry into Australia’s engagement in Afghanistan
12 November 2021
On 8 November 2021, the Law Council appeared before the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee (Committee) as part of the Committee’s inquiry into Australia’s engagement in Afghanistan.
The Law Council’s submission to the Committee recommended actions with the Australian Government and Department of Home Affairs should take in relation to the large number of Afghans who have sought protection from Australia, both before and after the withdrawal of NATO Allied personnel and the take-over of the Taliban in Afghanistan in August 2021.
There is a humanitarian crisis within Afghanistan and the Law Council emphasised that Australia has obligations in relation to Afghans who have already sought asylum or may seek asylum in the future, including to consider claims fairly according to international law and to recognise, protect and promote the individual rights of those seeking asylum. The Law Council commended the Government on its package of measures to assist Afghans who have been brought to Australia on temporary Subclass 449 visas as a result of these events.
The Law Council’s evidence to the Committee was that Australia’s response to the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan should be multi-faceted and include: a significant increase in places allocated to Afghans within the humanitarian program; increased, sustainable financial support for legal assistance services to provide legal advice to persons seeking humanitarian visas and family reunion; and measures to provide enduring solutions to Afghans already in Australia.