Australian official asks partners to strengthen Bali Process

15 April, 2013 | Source: The Jakarta Post

The newly appointed Australian special envoy on asylum seekers Angus Houston has asked partner countries to strengthen the implementation of the Bali Process, a regional cooperation framework aimed at tackling human trafficking issues.




"This is our best chance to demonstrate to the rest of the world our commitment to tackling challenges of irregular migration, including people smuggling and human trafficking and put the people smugglers out of business for good," said Houston at the Jakarta International Dialogue on Thursday.

Houston, also a former chief of the Australian defense forces, said a regional office in Bangkok, which was opened in September last year, had been prepared to support the cause.

"It will be the central point for information sharing on refugee protection and international migration," said Houston.

The office is designed as a capacity building center and command post where operational, logistic and administrative issues are deliberated.

"The key to addressing irregular migration is strong bilateral and multilateral cooperation between source, transit, and resettlement countries. The success of the regional cooperation framework lies with the commitment of Bali Process members," he said.

According to a report from the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the UNDP, there are over 70 million forced migrants worldwide. Fifty million of them are believed to have used the services of smugglers at some stage of their journey. Some 1.4 million people are in forced labor as a result of people trafficking.(asw/dic)

 

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