Hillsong Church has come together with a coalition of Australian Churches in response to the situation in Afghanistan. The Christians United for Afghanistan campaign was launched by Micah Australia in response to the ongoing crisis in the country. The heart behind the campaign is for the Australian Church to come together in solidarity, to advocate for those suffering at the hands of conflict in Afghanistan. We believe this is a part of our commission as Christians.
The Taliban takeover in Afghanistan on August 15, 2021 has thrown an already struggling country into complete devastation. The situation remains a political, economic, and humanitarian crisis, that is worsening on the ground, with effects spreading worldwide. Displacement, hunger, human rights abuses, jeopardized healthcare, and a collapsing education system, is just part of the devastation being faced by the Afghan population.
The campaign aims to show gratitude to the Australian Government for their response to the needs of those in Afghanistan- since the fall of Kabul, the Government has managed to evacuate 4,100 people from the country. In addition to this, Micah’s coalition of Church leaders are specifically calling on the Australian Government to:
- Welcome refugees from Afghanistan by increasing the number of our refugee intake to 20,000 places. As well as this, to continue the flow of additional resources to Home Affairs immigration and settlement services.
- Protect people from Afghanistan in Australia by granting permanent protection to all those already on temporary protection visas or currently awaiting application outcomes.
- Reunite refugee families by making immediate arrangements to bring the families of refugees from Afghanistan to Australia.
- Support through humanitarian aid by providing additional emergency and long-term support through reputable NGOs and organisations working in the region.
In recent weeks, 50 Church pastors and leaders from the Mitchell Electorate in Sydney gathered to pray and discuss ways to advocate for Afghan refugees in Australia. This same group co-signed a letter to Alex Hawke MP appealing for the Government to increase humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan, specifically stating the CUFA campaign asks. Pastor Donna Crouch was one of these members, and further took part in a meeting with Alex Hawke to discuss collaborative efforts moving forward.
So far, five letters to top decision makers have now been sent out, each signed by a number of Church leaders from their electorates. The letters are directed to Liberal MPs Prime Minister Scott Morrison; Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce; Treasurer Josh Frydenberg; Karen Andrews, Minister for Home Affairs; and Peter Dutton, Minister for Defence. Numerous meetings have been secured with Coalition staff to facilitate ongoing conversation between Church leaders and the Government. In addition to this, Micah Australia staff and key stakeholders are meeting privately on a regular basis to discuss strategy and to ensure Afghan refugees being effectively advocated for in Australia.
We hold firmly to the hope that Australia will respond to our asks accordingly and we will continue in our best efforts to ensure so.
In the words of Pastor Brian Houston:
“Empathy and felt compassion is at the core of Christian faith, and has always been at the heart of Australian culture. We stand with others in asking our Government to empathize with the plight of thousands of innocent Afghans caught in this current crisis. As a local church, we will continue to offer encouragement and support to those seeking safe haven, freedom and a future”.