The first Bali Process Ministerial Conference took place in Bali, Indonesia, over 26-28 February, attended by Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Democratic Republic of Korea, Fiji, France, India, Iran, Japan, Jordan, Kiribati, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, UNTAET/East Timor, Vanuatu and Vietnam, as well as the Director-General of the International Organisation for Migration
and the Assistant United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Russian Federation, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and the United States of America, the Association of South-East Asian Nations Secretariat, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, European Union, UNDP, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, IGC, INTERPOL, International Committee of Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross, International Labour Organization, United Nations Office of Drug Control and Crime Prevention attended as observers.
Ministers came together to acknowledge the human rights dimensions of the problems of people smuggling and trafficking in persons, particularly women and children, and underlined that illegal movements were growing in scale and complexity worldwide, including in the Asia Pacific Region.
Through this first regional comprehensive dialogue tackling the issue of trafficking in persons, people smuggling and related transnational crime, Ministers:
- underlined that people smuggling and trafficking in persons were reprehensible criminal activities that fed on the hopes and aspirations of people and frequently infringed basic human rights and freedoms.
- noted with concern that many of the smuggling and trafficking activities were being orchestrated by criminal networks that were also involved in the trafficking of narcotics, document fraud, money laundering, arms smuggling and other transnational crimes.
- recognised that the increase in all forms of illegal migration, including overstayers and those who sought to bypass regular migration channels without resorting to smuggling networks, posed a threat to the management of countries' regular migration programs and eroded States' capacity to protect their borders, regulate migration and safeguard their citizens.
- expressed the view that States should, within the framework of their international obligations and domestic laws, provide appropriate protection and assistance to the victims of traffickers of people, particularly women and children.
- affirmed that the root causes of people smuggling and trafficking in persons were numerous and multi-dimensional, involving economic, social and political aspects. They reaffirmed that poverty, economic disparities, labour market opportunities and conflict were major causes contributing to the global increase in people smuggling and trafficking in persons. Ministers
recognised that these problems should be addressed cooperatively and comprehensively.
Ministers agreed that, subject to domestic laws and according to their respective national circumstances, they would work towards:
- developing more effective information and intelligence sharing arrangements within the region to obtain a more complete picture of smuggling and trafficking activities and other forms of illegal migration.
- improving the cooperation of law-enforcement agencies to enhance deterrence and to fight against illegal immigration networks.
- enhancing cooperation on border and visa systems to improve the detection and prevention of illegal movement.
- increasing public awareness of the facts of smuggling and trafficking operations to discourage those considering illegal movement and to warn those susceptible to trafficking, including women and children.
- enhancing the effectiveness of return as a strategy to deter illegal migration through the conclusion of appropriate arrangements.
- cooperating in verifying the identity and nationality of illegal migrants, in a timely manner.