Call on the Australian Government to further reform community sponsorship for refugees, so that more families can rebuild their lives in safety.

People in Afghanistan have spent decades trying to build a country where they could live safely in freedom, where human rights are respected and women and girls are encouraged to participate fully in society. Yet with US and allied forces withdrawing from Afghanistan, these same people are now in danger from the Taliban. Basic human rights are being withheld. People are being killed and many others have disappeared. They have very few options to find safety.

Since the crisis began, Amnesty has been calling on the Government to increase its humanitarian intake. It has also been calling on Immigration Minister, Alex Hawke, to immediately announce long-awaited improvements to the Federal Government’s Community Sponsorship Program (CSP). CSP allows communities across Australia to sponsor refugees and welcome them into their neighbourhoods, where they are given the tools to settle into a new life and thrive.

Then late last year, after four years of relentless campaigning by communities across Australia, the Federal Government has finally agreed to dramatically reduce the cost and bureaucratic burden for those wanting to sponsor refugees and welcome them into their neighbourhoods.

The new program will significantly lower the exorbitant cost and bureaucratic burden of the existing scheme and allow more refugees to be sponsored by Australians wanting to welcome them into their communities. But more needs to be done. 

The Australian Government needs to ensure that that places with the Program are in addition to, not in place of, the annual
humanitarian quota.

Ensuring community sponsorship places are additional to Australia’s existing humanitarian intake will mean that the government is not merely passing the buck by shifting their responsibility onto the community.

Call on the Australian Government to further expand and improve community sponsorship today.

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To the Honourable Minister Hawke and Members of the House of Representatives,

We recognise there are currently only a few pathways for refugees to find a safe home in Australia.

One of them is community-led resettlement through community sponsorship.

To fully harness community generosity that can help refugees, Australia’s sponsorship program needs to be designed in a way that encourages, not hinders, more people to take part, and that expands Australia’s current refugee intake.

It needs to be expanded.

It needs to be improved.

Right now, we have the opportunity to help celebrate the refugees in our communities and call for sponsorship of others who want to call our community home, when it is no longer safe for them to continue living in theirs.

These are people who are like us. Refugees are our neighbours. Refugees play in our teams. Refugees volunteer in our communities. These are people who have lost their homes, their loved ones and life as they knew it.

Our new neighbours are asking for our help. We are calling on you to build a more generous and more accessible Community Support Program.

It must:

  1. Not take places from others in need
  2. Provide adequate support and services
  3. Limit costs
  4. Allow community, family and businesses to act as sponsors
  5. Create more places for people in need of protection to settle in Australia

As a generous country, we can and should do more.


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