Between 14 and 15 December 2009, the Co-Chairs of the Bali Process hosted the second Meeting of the Ad Hoc Group, Cluster Group in Perth, Australia.
In attendance were participants from Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Thailand as well as representatives from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration; and Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Maldives as observers.
In the absence of the Sri Lankan delegation the agenda was duly amended to provide for a wider discussion on the irregular movement of people in the region, including Sri Lankans.
Participants agreed to develop regional responses based on four main areas of cooperative engagement:
1. Diplomatic and Technical Assistance
- In light of the prolonged period of civil conflict in Sri Lanka, participants agreed to support the provision of development and humanitarian assistance to support the Sri Lankan Government’s recovery and reconstruction effort, including demining, housing and food security for people affected by the recent conflict. The difficulties in providing consular assistance in situations involving irregular people movement remained a point of further regional discussions.
- Participants welcomed Australia’s proposal to develop an evidence-based project including a stock take on regional cooperation on people smuggling to assist identifying gaps in current regional arrangements and potentially contribute to the development of a regional Memorandum of Understanding on preventing and combating irregular migration.
- Participants also welcomed the proposal to convene a workshop on the protection, resettlement, and repatriation of irregular migrants, hosted in Indonesia.
3. Legal and Law Enforcement
- Participants acknowledged the importance of harmonizing people smuggling and trafficking laws in line with international instruments as well as the crucial role played by mutual legal assistance and extradition in effective legal and enforcement responses to irregular movement.
- As such, it was recommended that the provisions related to mutual legal assistance and extradition of the UN Protocol on Migrant Smuggling supplementing the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) could be the basis for international cooperation. Thailand indicated that it would host a workshop on the topic in 2010.
- Participants also agreed that members would consider exploring anti-smuggling issues in the margins of engagements on trafficking and look to model future anti-smuggling initiatives on those seeking to address trafficking in persons.
4. Border Management
- Participants recognised the importance of good border management in the region and balancing the facilitation of legitimate travel and taking strong action against people smugglers.