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Jakarta Post

RI seeking solutions to illegal migration

  • Tama Salim

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, November 28, 2015   /  06:06 pm

Amid an escalating global crisis involving the irregular movement of people across borders, Indonesia has initiated a discussion with relevant countries in an effort to strengthen transnational cooperation and find solutions to the migration problem.

The Foreign Ministry is hosting the Jakarta Declaration roundtable meeting until Saturday, a follow-up to a previous irregular migrant conference held in August 2013, bringing together 13 countries that are directly impacted by transnational migration.

According to Hasan Kleib, the ministry'€™s director general for multilateral affairs, the meeting aims to spark a discussion on possible solutions and compile the resulting recommendations, which will be followed up in a number of international-level talks at the UN and the 2016 meeting of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime.

'€œThis roundtable meeting is proof of Indonesia'€™s active engagement in the region to seek solutions to the irregular movement of persons, with a special focus on prevention. It is hoped that participants of this meeting will be able to share their experiences and address the root causes of the problem,'€ Hasan said on Friday.

He said the Jakarta talks would focus on the identification of trends and challenges in the root causes of irregular migration and would seek to explore the possibility of a regional cooperation framework for use among states and other stakeholders that are affected by the irregular movement of persons.

The senior diplomat also said that Indonesia would continue to push for comprehensive solutions to the migrant situation, putting special emphasis on preventive measures, early detection, law enforcement and victim protection.

'€œIf we look at the first pillar, prevention, that has to do with what happens in the states of origin,'€ Hasan explained.

'€œMigrants start off with being smuggled out of their countries and end up as victims of trafficking. This meeting is to identify what reasons people have for leaving their homes in the first place.'€

Deputy Foreign Minister AM Fachir said the roundtable meeting was a means to produce a common perspective in planning out concrete steps for cooperation.

'€œOur hope is that this meeting will produce concrete outcomes in cooperation. It will be very important as input for UNHCR [United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees] commissioners to debate on in Geneva [Switzerland] next month,'€ he said, referring to a planned meeting of the UN high commissioners in December.

The meeting will conclude on Saturday with plans to produce an outcome document that will serve as a reference for future conduct on the migration issue on the international level.

The meeting is being attended by senior officials from Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Iran, Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Also in attendance are members of several international organizations: the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UNHCR, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), as well as representatives from the Bali Process Regional Support Office.

Indonesia uses a bilateral cooperation framework to address people smuggling and human trafficking, along with Australia, the forum'€™s current cochair alongside Indonesia, as a destination country, and Afghanistan, as a source country.

With the recent influx of migrants into Europe, Indonesia will have to find an alternative solution for the 13,000 migrants it is currently housing, including a few thousand Rohingya people it has agreed to temporarily accommodate until May next year.

A recent report by human rights group Amnesty International on the status of some 1,000 Rohingya in Indonesia'€™s Aceh region urged the international community to share the responsibility for aiding asylum seekers.

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