Baba Mazari Foundation Statement in Response to the Current Situation in Afghanistan
Dear compatriots, friends, great community of Australians and dear supporters of Baba Mazari Foundation – Australia
The current situation in Afghanistan, the fall of the central government and the Taliban’s ascendancy throughout most parts of the country is an unexpected, unbelievable and painful turn of events.
The BMF – Australia, as a charity and humanitarian organization, working for the good of humanity and public welfare, regardless of religious, political and racial affiliations, expresses its deep concern about the current events in the country.
Unfortunately, recent events have led to the death and injury of thousands, and the displacement and homelessness of hundreds of thousands of our civilians. The BMF, offers its condolences to the families of the martyrs and hopes the no other civilians will be harmed due to the current situation.
The BMF, as a charity organization, considers it necessary to convey the following points to our compatriots, friends, supporters, the great community of Australia and the world:
- The BMF hopes that the government of Australia, and other countries, will do their utmost to support the victims of the recent events in Afghanistan. The BMF believes that the government can once again play an international role in safeguarding the national humanitarian principles that govern our great country of Australia. The BMF have the following suggestions:
- Currently, the main concerns of our Afghan compatriots living in Australia, is the safety of their families and relatives in Afghanistan. The Australian government can help in protecting international human rights principles by allocating adequate humanitarian visas to those at risk. The government of Australia has done this before by issuing an additional 12000 visas in 2015 to Syrian and Iraqi refugees. In 1999, a great number of humanitarian visas were granted to refugees from Kosovo and after the Vietnam war, more visas were given to Vietnamese refugees. The Australian government can follow a similar plan for asylum seekers from Afghanistan, especially the religious and ethnic minorities whose lives are in the greatest danger as a result of this tragic situation.
- Many Afghan asylum seekers live in Australia on temporary visas. The Australian government can relieve some of their concerns by granting them permanent visas and allowing them to reunite their families and loved ones in the safety of this country. The BMF believes that for the foreseeable future, there is no chance of these people returning safely to Afghanistan.
- The Australian government, in coordination with other countries and international organizations, can ensure that humanitarian and charitable organizations, especially Australian based organizations, can continue their mission in Afghanistan.
- The Australian government could increase its level of charitable and humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan, to ensure more people in need can access these services.
- The Australian government can, in consultation with other countries, work to ensure that countries neighboring Afghanistan accept more Afghan refugees.
2. The role of government institutions, religious associations (such as churches and mosques), members of Parliament, human rights and charitable organizations, immigrants and refugee advocacy groups and organizations, academics and students, multicultural communities, individuals and legal entities of the great community of Australia, will be very crucial in supporting the suggestions above and assuring a continuous liaison between the relevant government authorities.
3. In addition to urgent and long-term plans regarding refugees and displaced people inside and outside Afghanistan, the BMF expresses its serious concern about the health, especially mental health of our compatriots who live in Afghanistan that have been affected by the current events. In this regard, the following plans can be a great help to these people:
- Increase in the capacity and quality of the government’s programs and services for Afghan society in all states.
- Involvement of non-governmental organizations in expanding their services to Afghan community in all states.
- Spiritual support from multicultural communities and the great community of Australia for Afghan community in Australia.
- Development of solidarity and cooperation between different segments of Afghan community in Australia.
4. In response to recent events, The BMF has put the following actions and plans on its agenda, from days before the fall of Kabul to the present:
- A fundraising campaign for the families who have lost their loved ones in recent wars and those injured or displaced as a result of wars in various Afghan provinces, including Malistan. This campaign was initiated weeks before the Taliban took over most of the country and was done in collaboration the UK based World Hazara Association. The fundraising was done via Facebook and Gofundme. With the fall of Kabul and the domination of the Taliban over most of the country, the level of public donations have increased and are still ongoing.
- Distribution of aid by the team of volunteers working with BMF inside Afghanistan, started from the first days of the campaign in affected provinces such as Jaghori, Malistan, Kabul and until the fall of Kabul, hundreds of eligible families benefited from this aid. After the fall of Kabul, security concerns about the welfare and safety of BMF team in Afghanistan, resulted in the temporary suspension of our plans for the team to help, but we are still trying to find ways to aid families and individuals as much as possible.
- Due to the migration of thousands of people from Afghanistan to neighboring countries such as Pakistan and Iran, where their living conditions are often extremely poor, part of our assistance has been allocated to refugees in Pakistan. Currently, our team is conducting a survey to configure the distribution of aid therein. We hope to assist these families as soon as possible.
- The BMF is diligently following the developments in Afghanistan and will be resuming work within Afghanistan on a larger scale as soon as the security concerns allow us to.
- The BMF executive team in Australia (Adelaide and Melbourne), have been in close contact with Australian government and non-government organizations since the beginning of this tragedy in order to represent the Afghan-Australian community and work with the officials/agencies to help the above plans become realised. The BMF hereby sincerely thanks all the individuals and legal entities that have worked with, supported and continue to help us in reaching our goals to assist the people of Afghanistan.
- Currently, there are ongoing discussions with officials on the above-mentioned issues. The BMF hopes to facilitate more substantial assistance for those at risk inside Afghanistan and those who have fled to neighboring countries.
5. The BMF, considering its position in the Afghan community of Australia, its specialized and skilled members, as well as its deep and accurate knowledge of the current situation in Afghanistan, can be a great link between the Australian government and Afghan-Australian community. The BMF welcomes any cooperation and joint work with government ministries and institutions as well as private organizations. The BMF will make any effort necessary to work in line with its ultimate goals and policies set forth upon its creation. We will stand by our Afghan compatriots in this difficult situation and hope to take any small burden off their shoulders. It is with this regard, that BMF asks for the generosity and support of all of you.
Finally, the BMF wishes that these difficult days will be over soon and that our country, our people, will once again be able watch the sun rising over the beautiful Hindu Kush and the great Baba Mountain without worry.
Baba Mazari Foundation Board of Directors and Executive Board, Australia