Australian Commonwealth Coat of Arms

Media release

12 November 2008

Joint Ministerial Statement - 9th Australia-Indonesia Ministerial Forum

People Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons

The ninth meeting of the Australia-Indonesia Ministerial Forum (AIMF) was held in Canberra on 12 November 2008. The Australian delegation was led by Stephen Smith MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Indonesian delegation was led by Dr N. Hassan Wirajuda, Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Ministers reaffirmed Australia’s and Indonesia’s commitment to working together under the Lombok Treaty in the area of law enforcement cooperation. In particular, Ministers noted that people smuggling and trafficking in persons remain high-priority transnational issues, both bilaterally and regionally. Ministers acknowledged that these challenges should be addressed in a cooperative and comprehensive manner with source, transit and destination countries.

Ministers reaffirmed a continuing commitment to combating people smuggling and trafficking in persons. Ministers acknowledged that people smuggling, as with all forms of transnational crime, presented a threat to the integrity of regional border security processes and procedures, and undermined the ability of regional States to manage a regular migration program. Ministers also acknowledged that trafficking in persons posed a threat to vulnerable people, especially women and children. Ministers underlined both countries’ shared commitment to work together in practical ways to secure our respective borders, as part of our broader cooperation to combat transnational crime.

Ministers noted the success of our bilateral cooperation in combating people smuggling and welcomed the reduction in people smuggling ventures arriving in Australia. Ministers acknowledged the constructive bilateral activity between key domestic operational agencies in this regard. Ministers noted that Australia and Indonesia remained vigilant to the continuing threat posed by people smuggling syndicates, and agreed to enhance our cooperation through increased operational assistance and information sharing and exploring measures to better strengthen our respective domestic legal frameworks in a manner consistent with relevant international instruments. Ministers also noted both the need to combat trafficking in persons, which undermined security due to links with organised crime, and to protect and assist the victims of such trafficking.

Ministers agreed that combating people smuggling and trafficking in persons in the region remained a high priority, including through bilateral cooperation and regional capacity building under the auspices of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime, co-chaired by Australia and Indonesia. Ministers welcomed the opportunity to reaffirm our shared leadership of the Bali Process, and looked forward to convening a Ministerial-level meeting of the Bali Process in the first half of 2009.

Mr Stephen Smith MP Dr N Hassan Wirajuda

Minister for Foreign Affairs Minister for Foreign Affairs

Australia Republic of Indonesia

CANBERRA, 12 NOVEMBER 2008