Senate debates

Friday, 17 November 2023

Statements by Senators

Asylum Seekers

1:34 pm

Photo of Nick McKimNick McKim (Tasmania, Australian Greens) Share this | Hansard source

I want to share the story of a young constituent of mine. She's a Hazara refugee who's currently in year 12 at a school in Hobart. In her own words, 'In Afghanistan under the Taliban, particularly as a Hazara and as a girl, your dreams and your goals and your hopes die.' Over 20 years ago, while living as an Afghan refugee in Iran, my constituent's mum had her two eldest daughters taken from her and given to her ex-husband, who sold them off for money. Fearing the same could happen to her other children, her mum bravely fled. After years of dangerous travel and time spent in horrific conditions in refugee camps, their family arrived in Australia in 2018. They are safe now, and my constituent has a bright and hopeful future ahead of her.

But, for her two older sisters, things are worse than ever. They were deported back to Afghanistan in 2022, where they then fled to Pakistan, hoping to be safe while they waited for their Australian humanitarian visas to be processed. The sisters are now subject to Pakistan's forced and violent deportation of around 1.7 million undocumented Afghan citizens from Pakistan back to Afghanistan. Handing women back to the Taliban can be tantamount to a death sentence, particularly when they are from a persecuted minority such as Hazara. The Australian government must process the visas of Afghan family members of people who are in Australia where those members are currently in Pakistan as an urgent priority so that they are able to flee the dangers and persecution they face and reunite in safety with their families who are here in Australia.


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