Joint Statement from the Forum on Indian Ocean Piracy in the margins of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

Joint media release

  • The Hon Kevin Rudd MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs
  • Catherine Ashton, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

28 October 2011

The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy co-chaired a forum on piracy in the margins of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Australia, attended by Indian Ocean Rim countries and stakeholders promoting security in Somalia and off the Horn of Africa.

The forum underlined its deep concern at the threat posed by piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Indian Ocean. Somali piracy raised the costs of international trade and harmed the fishing and tourist industries of East African and Indian Ocean coastal and island states.

Noting United Nations Security Council Resolution 2015 passed on 24 October 2011, the forum endorsed the international efforts to restore peace and stability in Somalia. Diplomatic efforts to address the drivers of Somali piracy through initiatives to build governance, security and economic livelihoods on land in Somalia were one crucial way to address the root causes of piracy off the Horn of Africa. The forum also endorsed the targeted international and regional approaches to tackling piracy.

Participants welcomed the work of the Commonwealth, the EU, regional and international organisations, notably the UN and its contact group on piracy, coalitions of countries and individual states in countering piracy in the Indian Ocean region. Participants agreed that regional ownership and burden sharing was essential and therefore attached great importance to support the regional anti-piracy strategy and action plan adopted in Mauritius in October 2010 by the Eastern and Southern African and the Indian Ocean regions.

The meeting also noted the opportunities offered by the significant number of countries who shared a common legal heritage and the opportunities this presented to the Commonwealth, other international organisations and states in the delivery of legal assistance and support to criminal justice systems. Noting the forum was held in the margins of CHOGM 2011, the participants encouraged common law countries to work together in support of criminal justice approaches to countering piracy and urged the Commonwealth Secretariat to keep this work under active consideration.

Australia agreed to host a conference in Perth in 2012 designed to explore further options to reduce piracy in Somalia and beyond.

Forum on Indian Ocean Piracy participants: Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Cyprus, European Union, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, UAE and UK.

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