Sixth Ministerial Conference

Location: Bali, IndonesiaDate: 23 March 2016
6th BPMC (2016)c Image

The Sixth Ministerial Conference of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime took place in Bali, Indonesia on 23 March 2016.

Ministers acknowledged the unprecedented levels of displacement and mobility seen globally since the last Ministerial Conference, following a surge in irregular movements of persons in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea in the first half of 2015, with high fatality rates recorded.

Recognising the need for an urgent, and collective response, members adopted the Bali Declaration on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime (Attachment A) to reinforce their commitment to tackling these complex challenges.

Ministers welcomed progress since the last Ministerial Conference and agreed on a strong program of activities to move the Bali Process forward. Ministers recommended that members review the region’s response to Andaman Sea situation of May 2015 to share lessons and work to implement necessary improvements. Ministers agreed the review would consider options for improving national, regional and subregional contingency planning and preparedness for potential large influxes of irregular migrants in the future.

In this context, Ministers welcomed the important contribution of the United Nations and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in helping states to address the challenges posed by irregular migration. The meeting recalled in particular the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the five action areas outlined by the UN Secretary General at the General Assembly Plenary Session on irregular migrants (20 November 2015).

Establishment of the Bali Process Consultation Mechanism and Taskforce on Planning and Preparedness

Ministers further welcomed national and regional efforts to date to respond in a timely manner to the irregular movements in the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean, including the Special Meetings on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean (29 May and 4 December 2015); the Special Retreat on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean (1 February 2016, Bangkok); the Emergency ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime: Irregular Movement of Persons in the Southeast Asia Region (2 July 2015); and the Jakarta Declaration Roundtable Meeting on Addressing the Root Causes of Irregular Movement of Persons (27-28 November 2015). The Ministers looked forward to the UN Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants (to be held in the General Assembly in September 2016).

Ministers further acknowledged the need for more agile, timely responses by Bali Process members. To this end, Ministers agreed to have a mechanism which would authorise the Co-Chairs to consult, and if necessary, convene future meetings to discuss urgent irregular migration issues with affected and interested countries in response to current regional issues or future emergency situations.
Participation in the mechanism will be voluntary and non-binding.

Ministers noted that more concerted efforts were needed to address the root causes of irregular migration. Until these underlying causes are addressed, people will continue risking their lives on smugglers' boats. Ministers reaffirmed the importance of inclusive socio-economic development, full respect for human rights and measures to reduce statelessness.

The establishment of the Bali Process Task Force on Planning and Preparedness was also agreed to support the Bali Process Consultation Mechanism, by enhancing cooperation among operational officials, providing a practical forum for involving Member States on irregular migration issues.

Technical Experts Group on Returns and Reintegration

Ministers recognised that timely, safe and dignified returns of persons found not to be owed international protection is an important element of orderly migration.

Building on outcomes from the Roundtable on Returns and Reintegration, in Manila, Philippines in December 2015, Ministers agreed to the establishment of a Technical Experts Group to exchange best practices with respect to returns and reintegration.

Establishment of The Government and Business Forum

The Bali Process 2016 Declaration further recognised the need to engage constructively with the private sector to expand legal and legitimate opportunities for labour migration and to combat human trafficking and related exploitation – including by promoting and implementing humane, non-abusive labour practices throughout supply chains.

The Foreign Ministers of Indonesia and Australia co-chaired the inaugural Bali Process Government and Business Forum in Perth, Australia over 24-25 August 2017, establishing the Forum as a permanent track of the Bali Process. Eddy Sariaatmadja, founder of the media group Emtek, and Andrew Forrest, founder and chairman of Fortescue Metals Group and founder of the Walk Free Foundation, were the first Australian and Indonesian Business Co-Chairs of the Forum.