Cruel and hypocritical visa cancellation decision must be reversed: APAN

Mar 14, 2024

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network has called the Australian Government’s abrupt cancellation of visas issued to Palestinians to enable them to flee Israel’s genocide in Gaza “cruel and inhumane.”

This week, Palestinian community members reported their relatives who had been advised to apply for, and had been issued, temporary Australian visas (subclass 600) had managed to flee Gaza, only to have their visas cancelled while they were mid-flight.

This abrupt cancellation has not only compounded the emotional trauma of families that are fleeing Israel’s daily bombardments, starvation and terrorism in Gaza, but also the financial stress resulting from this genocide and families’ desperate attempts to afford visas and flights.

The decision has also forced Palestinian families to make the impossible decision as to whether to send children, unaccompanied, on flights to Australia, or to remain together but stranded at the airports of third countries, without support, resources, certainty or hope for onward passage.

APAN urges the Australian Government to urgently review its visa allocation process to ensure Palestinians are able to flee Gaza and find safety in Australia, and to immediately reverse the decision to cancel the visas of Palestinians who were enroute to Australia.

Quotes attributed to APAN President Nasser Mashni:

“The inhumanity of the decision to rob Palestinian families of their visas, even as they are in the process of fleeing genocide in Gaza and seeking safety in Australia, is just staggering.

“Particularly cruel and hypocritical is that the government seems to be saying these visas should be cancelled for the very same reason they have been offered in the first place, that being the unbearable nature of Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza.

“This callous decision compounds the unfathomable atrocities Israel has committed against Palestinians in Gaza during the past six months, and the Australian Government must work swiftly to review and reverse this decision, and to follow through on its moral obligation to offer safety and certainty to these vulnerable families.

“We were rightly proud of our efforts as a nation to offer pathways to safety from conflict to Ukrainians, Afghans and Syrians in recent years, and we need to continue to do so fairly, without bias, and with compassion and humanity, for Palestinians fleeing Gaza.”