© UNHCR/Andrew McConnell

Plea for Australians not to forget Afghanistan

Australia for UNHCR, together with UNHCR’s Regional Representation in Canberra, are urging Australians not to forget the people of Afghanistan as they grapple with a worsening humanitarian crisis, one year on from the dramatic scenes in Afghanistan.

12 August 2022

Australia for UNHCR, together with UNHCR’s Regional Representation in Canberra, are urging Australians not to forget the people of Afghanistan as they grapple with a worsening humanitarian crisis, one year on from the dramatic scenes in Afghanistan.

“At this moment, millions of Afghans need the international community to help provide basics like food and shelter,” said Australia for UNHCR CEO Trudi Mitchell. “My plea to Australians is not to forget those people who still need our help, including women and girls.”

Afghanistan captured the world’s attention when the elected government swiftly collapsed a year ago and thousands of people fled to Kabul’s airport.

In the year since, conflict, human rights abuses, ongoing drought, economic crisis, food insecurity, and natural disasters have continued to wrack the country.

As the attention of the world has shifted elsewhere, the UN Refugee Agency has continued to focus on humanitarian needs and human rights in Afghanistan, including advocating for women and girls.

“Women and girls must be given the opportunity to participate in all aspects of public life in Afghanistan, including education and employment,” said Australia for UNHCR CEO Trudi Mitchell. “Without that participation, there is little chance of achieving lasting stability and economic development in the country.”

UNHCR has constructed several resource centres for women in areas of Afghanistan it prioritises for the voluntary return of refugees and conflict displaced people. These facilities offer computer and coding classes, language training, day-care activities, psycho-social support programs, tailoring training, and space for women-run businesses.

In the past year, donations from Australians have been vital for supporting UNHCR’s work across Afghanistan. But continued support is needed, with only 59 percent of UNHCR’s $492.8 million appeal for its Afghanistan operations covered.

“Many people of Afghan origin here in Australia, New Zealand and across our region continue to endure great anxiety about their futures and those of family members and friends still in Afghanistan or dispersed across host countries in the Asia-Pacific and beyond,” said Adrian Edwards, UNHCR’s Regional Representative for Australia. “Being apart from loved ones adds to the pain for many refugees. Our solidarity is with all who face this plight, and we must work to ensure that Afghanistan’s humanitarian needs are supported.”

The UN Refugee Agency has expanded its field presence in Afghanistan since August 2021. More than 300 UNHCR staff are delivering assistance throughout the country to address humanitarian and emergency response needs.

So far this year, UNHCR has supported 560,000 people with cash assistance for basic needs and shelter, as well as delivering blankets, household supplies, hygiene kits, solar panels and lanterns, gas cylinders for cooking, and other relief aid.

UNHCR also provides infrastructure support, including building health centres, schools, and water systems, benefiting more than 2.5 million people so far this year.

Media contact
Alex Fisher
[email protected]
0498 998 018