Email this page
International Organization for Migration Australia
International Organization for Migration
PO Box 1009
Canberra ACT 2608
If calling from Australia:
Tel: 02 6257 1173 / 02 6267 6600
Fax: 02 6257 3743
If calling from overseas:
Tel: +61 2 6257 1173 or +61 2 6267 6600
Fax: +61 2 6257 3743
International Organization for Migration
CPA Australian Building
161 London Circuit
Following large numbers of illegal boat arrivals run by people smuggling operations in the Asia-Pacific region, a Bali Ministerial Conference on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime was held in February 2002 and brought together thirty-eight source, transit and receiving (destination) countries from throughout the region. The Bali Process is a voluntary non-binding grouping.
A statement issued by Co-Chairs Australia and Indonesia at the end of the Conference underlined participants commitment to concerted regional action to disrupt people smuggling and trafficking, and established a framework for future cooperative action.
A Second Bali Ministerial Conference again co-chaired by Australia and Indonesia was held in April 2003, with Ministers agreeing to continue a program of practical cooperation to combat people smuggling and trafficking in the region.
At the two Bali Ministerial Conferences, Ministers agreed to the following specific objectives for the Bali process:
- the development of more effective information and intelligence sharing;
- improved cooperation among regional law enforcement agencies to deter and combat people smuggling and trafficking networks;
- enhanced cooperation on border and visa systems to detect and prevent illegal movements;
- increased public awareness in order to discourage these activities and warn those susceptible;
- enhanced effectiveness of return as a strategy to deter people smuggling and trafficking through conclusion of appropriate arrangements;
- cooperation in verifying the identity and nationality of illegal migrants and trafficking victims;
- the enactment of national legislation to criminalise people smuggling and trafficking in persons;
- provision of appropriate protection and assistance to the victims of trafficking, particularly women and children;
- enhanced focus on tackling the root causes of illegal migration, including by increasing opportunities for legal migration between states; and
- assisting countries to adopt best practices in asylum management, in accordance with the principles of the Refugees Convention.
To take forward these objectives, Ministers agreed that senior officials develop practical plans of action. New Zealand has coordinated activities to increase regional and international cooperation and Thailand has coordinated work on legislation, law enforcement and document fraud issues. Overall direction and coordination has been provided through an officials' level steering group comprising Indonesia and Australia as the two co-chairs, New Zealand and Thailand as the coordinators and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and International Organization for Migration (IOM) as partner agencies. The IOM also administers the process.
Key areas of activity since the first Bali meeting include:
- the establishment by IOM of a Bali Process website (www.baliprocess.net). Used initially to provide basic information the website is now being developed as a capacity-building tool, including model agreements and operational information;
- two legislation workshops in Malaysia for regional immigration, police and justice officials. These resulted in the development by Australia (AGD) and China of model legislation to criminalise people smuggling and trafficking (to enable police investigations, prosecutions and extraditions) which has subsequently been used by many regional countries in the development of their own legislation;
- a law enforcement and travel document fraud workshop in China, including training by the Bangkok-based Immigration Control Experts (ICE) team, represented by Australia and the United States;
- two workshops run primarily by UNHCR in Thailand and Fiji respectively on best practice procedures for determining the status of asylum seekers and on balancing a country's right to determine who enters its territory with the right of victims of persecution or violence to seek and receive protection in other countries;
- a people trafficking/public awareness workshop in the Republic of Korea run jointly by the Korean Justice and Gender Equality ministries;
- a workshop developed by DIAC on identity management and document fraud in Thailand, resulting in the development of best practice guidelines for the initial establishment of identity, mechanisms for coordinating regional training, and support for a regional approach to information sharing on documentation, lost and stolen passports and persons of concern;
- a bilateral returns workshop in Perth, developed by DIAC and run jointly with the regional Budapest process, resulting in agreement to contribute draft paragraphs for governments to draw on in developing bilateral return agreements, and the development of a checklist of issues to be addressed in the return of illegal migrants; and
- a workshop among law enforcement agencies, developed by AFP, focusing on cooperation in identifying and targeting key people smugglers and traffickers in the region.
As mandated by Ministers at the second Bali conference, senior officials reviewed progress at a Senior Officials' Meeting in Brisbane in June 2004, co-chaired by the Australian Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues and her Indonesian counterpart. 47 countries (comprising officials from regional justice, immigration, foreign and law enforcement agencies) and nine international organisations attended the meeting.
Participants expressed strong appreciation for the way the Bali process has delivered direct practical benefits to regional operational agencies. They agreed that some of the objectives set by Ministers had been achieved at least in so far as they could be taken forward in a multilateral process of this kind. They also noted work on related issues underway bilaterally and in other regional forums and agreed that the Bali process should not duplicate that. They further agreed that, despite progress, significant challenges remained, particularly in dealing with trafficking in persons issues. They therefore recommended a streamlined future program of continuing and new activities in areas the Bali process could best add value, notably:
- regional law enforcement cooperation, including on border controls;
- regional training for law enforcement officers in dealing with the victims of trafficking and in combating trafficking;
- public awareness of people smuggling and trafficking;
- child sex tourism;
- mutual assistance and extradition;
- development of policy and/or legislation on lost and stolen passports; and
- targeting people smugglers and traffickers.
Bali Process participants are now cooperating to continue taking this work forward.
Related pages on this site
Related external links
Search the entirety of the site for resources or updates.
We are here to assist you with research requests or inquiries about human trafficking.
Click here to contact us