The Bali Process Ministerial Conference today took a major step towards
tackling people smuggling by agreeing to a regional cooperation framework.
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kevin Rudd, and the Minister for Immigration
and Citizenship, Chris Bowen, welcomed the adoption of the framework.
“This is a milestone in the development of a co-ordinated approach by
nations in and around the Asia-Pacific to address the challenge of people
smuggling,” Mr Rudd said.
“It represents a significant win for Australian diplomacy, with the
framework the key objective of the Government for this meeting.”
Mr Bowen welcomed the range of practical measures outlined by the
conference for governments to consider when giving effect to the framework.
“This is an important outcome in terms of providing a clear blueprint for
the countries of the region to work together to deal with people
smuggling,” Mr Bowen said.
The Bali Process outcome also makes specific reference to a regional
assessment centre or centres, as a measure that governments could agree to
under the framework.
The framework provides the regional context for Australia to take forward
bilateral discussions with countries in the region on measures to combat
people smuggling including a regional processing assessment centre.
The Bali Process co-chairs' statement provides for several options for
practical action, including:
- the development of bilateral arrangements to undermine people
smuggling and create disincentives for irregular movement, including where
appropriate, transfers, returns and readmissions;
- the targeting of people smuggling enterprises through coordinated
border security arrangements; and
- strengthened information and intelligence sharing.
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