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Media Releases 30 Aug 2021

RSL Calls for Support for Afghanistan Evacuees

Australia’s peak veterans’ organisation, the Returned & Services League of Australia (RSL), has called on veterans and the wider RSL community, especially veterans from Middle East operations, to help Afghan families settle in Australia.

RSL National President Greg Melick said many of those now being repatriated to Australia helped the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) in the past, and Australian veterans could now help to repay the favour and assist the Afghans to settle into a new lifestyle in this country.

“The reality is that many of these people may not speak English, and we may well have to interpret for the families of our former Afghan interpreters,” he said.

“Understanding that Afghan families are now quarantining and will likely settle throughout the nation, I encourage RSL Sub-Branches around Australia to give whatever assistance they can to help these people to merge into Australian society.

“These Afghan families who have supported or have associations with Australia, have escaped a tragic situation in their home country and many will be traumatised and in fragile mental conditions.

“ADF veterans will have some understanding of this, and they can now return some of the support they received in Afghanistan.

“As an example, RSL Western Australia has already offered facilities in Veteran House for further wellbeing assessments for the Afghan migrants through doctors, dentists and other specialists on hand there.”

Greg Melick said the RSL provided similar assistance in the mid-1970s, helping many South Vietnamese families resettle in Australia and today, several RSL Sub-Branches are led by veterans of the Vietnam conflict.

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