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AFGHANISTAN DAY

The Minister for Finance (Senator Dame Margaret Guilfoyle), by leave, moved-That the Senate- (a) recalls that the Australian Government condemned the invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union on 27 December 1979 as a gross violation of the United Nations Charter and of Afghanistan's non-aligned status;

(b) notes that the international community, in particular the United Nations General Assembly, has repeatedly called for the immediate withdrawal of the foreign troops from Afghanistan and reaffirmed the right of the Afghan people to determine their own form of government free from outside intervention;

(c) deplores the continued fighting within Afghanistan, the tragic loss of life and destruction of property, and the suffering of the Afghan civilians who have been subjected to sustained and increasing military harassment, bombing and disruption;

(d) views with deep concern the plight of approximately 2.5 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan;

(e) notes that 21 March has been traditionally celebrated by the Afghan people as the beginning of their New Year;

(f) welcomes the decision by the European Parliament to designate 21 March 1982 as Afghanistan Day and make it the occasion on which international attention again should be focussed on the Soviet military occupation of Afghanistan; and

(g) declares also its intention to designate 21 March 1982 as a day for Australians to convey to the world their desire for the USSR to withdraw unconditionally from Afghanistan and allow a free, independent and truly non- aligned Afghanistan to be re-established.

Debate ensued.

Question-put and passed.