A woman prepares to start a fire to bowl water in an IDP camp in Mazari Sharif.
© UNHCR/Edris Lutfi

We appreciate this is a very stressful time for people with family and loved ones in Afghanistan.

Please note that Australia for UNHCR is an Australian charity raising funds from the Australian public for UNHCR’s humanitarian and emergency programmes overseas. We cannot help on asylum or resettlement matters. We are separate to, and independent from, UNHCR.

As such, any enquiries to UNHCR should be sent to the UNHCR Multi-Country Office (MCO) in Canberra by emailing [email protected] or calling +61 (0)2 6281 9100. Further information on the situation in Afghanistan can be found on their website: https://help.unhcr.org/australia/situation-in-afghanistan/

Please also note that the MCO in Canberra does not generally follow up with refugees or asylum-seekers outside Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific. To contact a UNHCR office outside of Australia, please visit http://www.unhcr.org/en-au/contact-us.html and/or check http://help.unhcr.org

If you are seeking information from UNHCR in countries outside Afghanistan, you can find this on the 'HELP' pages of those countries including Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, India and others.

Information about the situation in Afghanistan

The UNHCR Afghanistan ‘HELP’ website is available here: https://help.unhcr.org/afghanistan/

Due to the current situation, UNHCR Afghanistan cannot accept walk-in counselling requests until further notice.

You can reach UNHCR in Afghanistan on their Protection hotline 0790691746 and 0704996168 (available on all working days) or the Protection email ([email protected]).

They will try to respond as quickly as possible but, due to the very large number of current requests and the impact of the security situation, it may take them some time to reply.

From within Afghanistan you may also direct questions to the inter-agency helpline - Awaaz: 410 (toll free and available 7 days a week)
Awaaz website: https://awaazaf.org/

UNHCR can only register people as refugees or asylum seekers once they are outside of Afghanistan and looking for safety in another country. If you are still in Afghanistan, UNHCR is not able to register you. Also, UNHCR has limited ability to assist Afghan nationals inside Afghanistan and cannot help people who want to leave the country with the costs or logistics of travel. Individuals with ties to foreign governments, embassies, military, NGOs are advised to consult with those foreign entities to understand any opportunities for departure from inside or outside Afghanistan.

Australian Government Support

For those seeking information on Australia's response, please see the Department of Home Affairs website 'Afghanistan Update'. Whilst UNHCR exercises a supervisory role over the implementation of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol in Australia they are not able to assist with individual visa applications. For information on refugee and humanitarian visa options please see the Australian Department of Home Affairs website at: Refugee and humanitarian visa options. Please note that you do not need to be registered with or referred by UNHCR in order to apply for a refugee or humanitarian visa. These visas are processed and granted by the government of Australia.

Requests for further information regarding humanitarian visas can be directed to the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at: [email protected]

Support Services in Australia

The Refugee Council of Australia has an Afghanistan Help Sheet with links to free legal services in each State and Territory in Australia - https://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/afghanistan-helpsheet/.

Free legal help for those in Australia is also available from Refugee Legal on [email protected] or their Afghanistan Legal Hotline - Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm on (03) 9413 0166.

The Asia Pacific Network of Refugees has also launched an Afghan Crisis Helpline for Afghan nationals in Australia or Afghanistan. They can help with emergency support, link you with mental health counsellors and refer you for pro-bono legal support. Call 1800 855 707 or (+61) 1800 855 707

Family members who have lost contact with relatives in Afghanistan due to the current situation, can contact the Australian Red Cross Family Links Network to assist you to re-establish contact with your family members. Their hotline is available Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm (AEST) on 1800 875 199 or via [email protected]

For culturally relevant counselling support, if you live in NSW and are a refugee, asylum seeker or from a refugee-like background you can contact STARTTS on 9646 6700 or 9646 6800.