On 12 October 2011, the Co-Chairs of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime hosted the fifth Meeting of Ad Hoc Group Senior Officials in Sydney, Australia.
In attendance were representatives from Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, as well as representatives from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Following AHG endorsement of the Steering Group decision to invite them, the Philippines, Vietnam and the United States of America participated as new members. Canada and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) attended the meeting as observers.
The purpose of the meeting was to progress outcomes from the Fourth Bali Regional Ministerial Conference on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime, held in Bali on 30 March 2011, to take forward operationalisation of the Regional Cooperation Framework (RCF).
- agreed to expand the mandate of the Technical Experts Group on Irregular Movements by Air to address irregular movements by both land and sea.
- recognised the need for an information base on people smuggling activity and irregular migration in the region to assist States to address knowledge gaps and target programs and activities effectively. In line with this, UNODC shared insights, progress, and recommendations from on the Evidence Base project.
- agreed to address the need for sharing information on technology and data exchange between immigration agencies with border security responsibilities by establishing a secure website portal and a workshop to be held in 2012-13 on immigration use of biometric technology.
- agreed there were areas where the US and Bali Process could work together in partnership, coordination and cooperation.
- recognised that the transborder and multifaceted nature of trafficking in persons crimes pose difficulties in prosecuting offences and agreed to consider areas for harmonisation and any future initiatives members propose for counter trafficking in the region through the Bali Process.
Participants agreed to:
- continue progress on establishing RILON through States’ internal mechanisms.
- convene workshops on maritime safety in the context of irregular maritime migration, measures to combat trafficking in persons, immigration intelligence analysis best practice, integrity of visa processes for foreign mission staff.
- convening technical experts meeting on practical measures to protect and assist victims of trafficking, prosecute perpetrators and prevent trafficking in persons.
- establish a Regional Support Office (RSO) to take forward the development of practical measures to implement the RCF.
- establish a Working Group to make recommendations on governance and operational aspects of the RSO.
- proceed with two foundational projects for the RSO: 1) a regional data harmonisation initiative to promote further harmonisation of information management between States and international organisations; 2) a voluntary repatriation capacity building and support project.