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«Second Regional Ministerial Conference on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime Bali, 29-30 April 2003 Co-chairs' ...»

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Second Regional Ministerial Conference on People

Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational

Crime

Bali, 29-30 April 2003

Co-chairs' statement

I. Introduction

We, the Foreign Ministers of Indonesia and Australia, had the honour to

Co-Chair the Second Bali Regional Ministerial Conference on People

Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime in Bali,

Indonesia on 28-30 April 2003, attended by Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei

Darussalam, Cambodia, People’s Republic of China, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Fiji, France (New Caledonia), India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, Kiribati, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor Leste, Turkey and Vietnam, as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and representatives of the International Organisation for Migration.

2. Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United States of America, Asian Development Bank (ADB), Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretariat, Asia Pacific Consultations on Refugees, Displaced Persons and Migrants (APC), European Union (EU), International Centre for Migration Policy Development Secretariat (ICMPD), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Federation for the Red Cross (IFRC), Inter-Governmental Consultations on Asylum, Refugee and Migration Policies in Europe, North America and Australia (IGC), International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and World Bank attended as observers.

3. Ministers recalled the first Bali Regional Ministerial Conference on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related 2 Transnational Crime, held in Bali from 26-28 February 2002. Ministers reaffirmed the general principles on combating people smuggling, trafficking in persons and related transnational crime, as outlined in the Co-Chairs’Statement from the first Bali Regional Ministerial Conference.

4. Ministers affirmed that the root causes of people smuggling and trafficking in persons were numerous and multi-dimensional, involving economic, social and political aspects. They reaffirmed that poverty, economic disparities, labour market opportunities and conflict were major causes contributing to the global increase in people smuggling and trafficking in persons. Ministers recognised that these problems should be addressed cooperatively and comprehensively.

5. Ministers urged the international community to assist source countries to address the root causes of the illegal movement of people by providing emergency aid, development assistance, direct support programs for displaced persons and to address the plight of refugees. They agreed on the need for international support for capacity building programs to achieve sustained economic growth and sustainable development and for assistance to countries with large refugee populations. Ministers emphasised that consideration should also begiven to encouraging more opportunities for legal channels of migration including access to the international labour market.

6. Ministers acknowledged the human rights dimensions of the problems of people smuggling and trafficking in persons, particularly women and children.

7. Ministers acknowledged that illegal migrants potentially were both offenders of laws and victims. Ministers deplored the inhumane practices of smugglers and traffickers and their lack of regard for human suffering.

8. Ministers also emphasised that border security was a key component of national and global security. Ministers noted that all forms of transnational crime ruthlessly exploited border security and management systems, particularly those of countries that were in the process of developing national, regional and global capacities to combat people smuggling, trafficking in persons and related transnational crime.

Ministers agreed that illegal migration threatened States’capacity to protect their borders and citizens and manage their regular migration programmes.

3 9. Ministers welcomed the activities of the two Ad Hoc Experts’Groups established at the first Bali Regional Ministerial Conference. The Bali Process has complemented and strengthened bilateral cooperation in the region. Regional cooperation was stronger and countries’capacity to combat people smuggling and trafficking in persons had improved as a consequence. These developments had been given substantial impetus as a result of the decisions taken by Ministers at the first Bali Regional Ministerial Conference.

II. Recent International and Regional Developments 10. Ministers called on the international community to provide humanitarian and reconstruction support and assistance to Iraq and to other post-conflict countries, particularly to those people in need of protection and humanitarian aid.

11. Ministers underlined the continued prevalence and complexity of illegal people movements worldwide, including in the Asia Pacific region.

Ministers noted that these movements, including the movement of persons who have had international protection in a country other than their own, were creating significant political, economic, social and security challenges, and that journeys were undertaken without respect for either national sovereignty or borders.





12. Ministers emphasised the serious problem of trafficking in persons in the Asia Pacific region. They urged regional states to give increased attention to the problem. Ministers expressed concern that this criminal activity was performed without regard for international human rights principles or national legal frameworks. They highlighted the particular vulnerability of women and children.

13. Ministers discussed the links between people smuggling, trafficking in persons and other forms of transnational crime and were concerned that many of the smuggling and trafficking activities were being orchestrated by criminal networks that were also involved in the trafficking of narcotics, document fraud, money laundering, arms smuggling, terrorismand other transnational crimes.

14. Ministers recognised that regional cooperation in combating terrorism had benefited from the increased regional recognition of the importance of cooperation in combating transnational crimes such as people 4 smuggling and trafficking in persons, and vice-versa. In this context, Ministers noted that the past twelve months had borne witness to shocking and indiscriminate acts of terrorism in the Asia Pacific region, including the Bali bombings of 12 October 2002. Ministers noted that these heinous acts had served only to galvanise regional and international cooperation in the fight against terrorism. An example of this cooperation was the outcomes from the Conference on Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing, co-chaired by Indonesia and Australia in Bali in December 2002.

15. Ministers expressed their deep sympathy to all those affected by the 2002 Bali bombing tragedy, in particular for the families of those perished and injured. They commended the firm measures taken to combat terrorism and the cooperation rendered by other countries in this regard.

16. Ministers noted thatthe desire to improve regional cooperation was also visible in the number of important conferences held recently in the region, including the 2nd ASEAN Senior Officials’Meeting on Transnational Crime, held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 17 May 2002 which had adopted a Work Programme to Implement the ASEAN Plan of Action to Combat Transnational Crime, including trafficking in persons; the Pacific Islands Forum Meeting, held in Suva, Fiji, from 15-17 August 2002, at which members formulated the Nasonini Declaration on cooperation to address international terrorism and transnational crime; the 6th Meeting of ASEAN Director-Generals of Immigration and Heads of Consular Affairs Section in Foreign Ministries, in Bangkok in September 2002, where plans of action were developed for exchanges of tactical intelligence relating to migration and transnational crime;the 8th ASEAN Summit held in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, from 4-5 November 2002, at which the ASEAN Heads of State released a Joint Declaration on Terrorism, further addressing international terrorism and transnational crime; the 7th APC Plenary, held in Halong City, Vietnam on 21-22 November 2002; and the Asian Ministerial Consultations on Labour Migration, held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 1-3 April

2003. These regional initiatives, plus the high level of attendance at this Conference, demonstrated the political will in the region to work together to combat transnational crimes.

17. Ministers noted furtherthat over the past year several regional countries had signed and/or ratified the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime and the Protocols thereto. Ministers 5 encouraged those countries that had not yet done so also to consider the benefits of signing and ratifying the Convention and its Protocols.

III. Review of Progress from the first Regional Ministerial Conference 18. Ministers recalled the decision at the first Bali Regional Ministerial Conference to establish two Ad Hoc Experts’Groups, coordinated by the Governments of New Zealand and Thailand respectively.

Ad Hoc Experts’Group I was established to promote regional and international cooperation, while the mandate of Ad Hoc Experts’Group II was to assist States to strengthen policy making, legislative arrangements and law enforcement practices.

19. In this context, Ministers welcomed the Report on the work of Ad Hoc Experts’Group I by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of New Zealand.

He noted that countries had outlined the domestic structures they had thus far adopted to combat people smuggling and trafficking, and were now progressing cooperative activities such as the establishment of a regional website (www.awiz.net/bmcw) to provide a forum for information exchange by member countries. Countries had identified measures they were taking to increase public awareness of these crimes and to discourage those considering illegal movement. Countries had participated in a workshop on best practices in asylum management. Countries had also received information to assist them to facilitate the dignified and humanereturn of unlawful migrants.

20. Ministers noted thatAd Hoc Experts’Group I held a review meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 13-14 March 2003. The meeting reviewed the progress of the Group and developed a draft action plan for future work beyond the second Bali Regional Ministerial Conference, including information sharing; surveys on root causes of illegal migration, public awareness campaigns and capacity building; together with workshops on public awareness campaigns and best practices in asylum management; and encouraging the development of model agreements to cover the return of failed asylum seekers.

21. Ministers recalled that at the first Bali Regional Ministerial Conference they had agreed to work towards development of national legislation criminalising people smuggling and trafficking, and towards improving the cooperation of law enforcement agencies against illegal immigration networks, including by enhancing cooperation on border and 6 visa systems. In this context, Ministers welcomed the Report on the work of Ad Hoc Experts’Group II by the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Thailand. He noted that model legislations had been developed to assist governments to prepare and implement domestic laws criminalising people smuggling and trafficking, in addition to existing national legislation which countries had already identified. Countries had strengthened their national networks and cooperation between law enforcement agencies, and had instituted measures to improve identity verification and document examination procedures.

22. Ministers noted thatAd Hoc Experts’Group II held a review meeting in Tokyo, Japan on 10-11 March 2003. The meeting reviewed the progress of the Group and developed a draft action plan for future work beyond the second Bali Regional Ministerial Conference, including a workshop focusing on the legislative requirements for effective legal cooperation, training for operational officials on travel document fraud,further identification of capacity building needs in the area of law enforcement and border management; and the establishment of resource taskforces which could exchange appropriate intelligence, develop agreed standards for document examination and conduct a regional needs analysis.

23. In addition to progress achieved through the work of the two Ad Hoc Experts’Groups, Ministers noted that the Bali Process had provided impetus for related developments in regional countries to combat people smuggling, trafficking in persons and related transnational crime. Such developments included the implementation or development of national legislation, according to their respective national circumstances,to criminalise people smuggling and trafficking, the agreement of bilateral memoranda of understanding on information exchange, the strengthening of domestic law enforcement procedures, and the initiation of capacity building projects on border management.

Ministers underlined the following recommendations:

IV. Building on International and Regional Cooperation 24. Ministers stressed that people smuggling, trafficking in persons and other forms of illegal migration were global problems involving origin, transit and destination countries, which required comprehensive international action. The Asia Pacific region had made an effective and important contribution to combating these criminal activities. Ministers 7 encouraged all regional countries to intensify further their cooperation in combating people smuggling and trafficking in persons.

25. Ministers agreed that, subject to domestic laws and according to their respective national circumstances, they would work towards developing more effective information and intelligence sharing arrangements within the region, to obtain a more complete picture of smuggling and trafficking activities and other forms of illegal migration.

26. Ministers agreed on the need for strong national legislation criminalising these activities, strong law enforcement mechanisms and cooperation in the effective prosecution of such activities in accordance with domestic law.



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