Offering immigration law advice to people displaced by the effects of climate change.
Mohammad* fled Afghanistan in 2013. According to the United Nations Environment Program, 80% of conflict in Afghanistan is over land, water, and resources. Droughts, floods, avalanches, landslides, and extreme weather have worsened in recent years due to climate change** and this has exacerbated the battle for land and resources between the settled Hazaras and the nomadic Kuchis in the central highlands of Afghanistan. The Kuchis, who are supported and armed by the Taliban, raid Hazara villages and confiscate Hazara land.
In Mohammad’s case, 50 armed Kuchis arrived on the outskirts of a Hazara village. When the Kuchis opened fire, Mohammad and the other villagers fought back. The next day, 200 more Kuchis and Taliban arrived. Outnumbered and outarmed, the villagers realised that they could not stop the Kuchis from taking their land and fled. Mohammad’s friends told him that the Taliban was looking for the young men who had fought against the Kuchi. Fearing for his life, Mohammad left Afghanistan with his wife and daughter.
RACS assisted Mohammad in preparing his protection application and represented him at his interview with the Department of Home Affairs. Mohammad arrived in Australia by boat, so he is not eligible for a permanent protection visa. Although Mohammad was granted a temporary protection visa after waiting years for an interview with the Department of Home Affairs, to remain safe in Australia Mohammad will need to prove his case every three years. He will not be able to bring his family to Australia.
*Name changed to protect privacy.
**Sophia Jones, ‘In Afghanistan, climate change complicates future prospects for peace,’ National Geographic (3 February 2020), accessible here.