The Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime

Regional Support Office Activities

The role of the RSO is to engage in activities reflecting the Bali Process themes of people smuggling, trafficking in persons and related transnational crime, with a view to enhance cooperation between Bali Process members.

The RSO seeks to complement and not duplicate other relevant programs and initiatives and to work towards developing synergies between various activities under the Bali Process.

Projects

1. Early Detection:

Guidelines for Immigration Intelligence Reporting

In line with the recommendations from the 8th AGH Senior Officials Meeting, the RSO will develop guidelines for member states to standardize immigration intelligence reports. This will facilitate the sharing of immigration intelligence information between members in a clear, concise and consistently written manner.

The RSO will gather information from member states and relevant organisations to ensure that the guidelines reflect current best practice. The guidelines will address essential content and format, writing techniques, distribution mechanisms, and caveats about confidentiality and national security ratings

The guidelines are currently under development.

The RSO will consult with member states to ensure the guidelines reflect good practice and welcomes the participation of interested members.

Immigration Liaison Officer Exchange and Development Programme

The Immigration Liaison Officer (IMMLO) Programme is an ongoing project that aims to support the capacity development of participating states' immigration liaison officers through comprehensive trainings.

As part of the programme participants work alongside other ILOs posted within the pilot countries' own international airports, as well as undertake a reciprocal training exchange to another country's international airport.

Thailand and the Philippines are currently participating in the project and concluded an international exchange of immigration officers in October, 2014.

A review of the program was conducted from 2-3 December, 2014. A report will be developed providing suggestions for the future direction of the program. which will be presented at the next Bali Process Senior Officials Meeting.

Immigration representatives from the Governments of Thailand and the Philippines with support from the Australian Government.

2. Protection:

Bali Process Civil Registration Assessment Toolkit

The RSO, in consultation with Bali Process members, has developed a toolkit that will allow interested States to evaluate and improve how they register births, deaths and marriages that occur on their territory among asylum seekers, refugees, persons of undetermined nationality and stateless persons. The toolkit contains an assessment methodology and relevant technical and policy guidance based on international standards, recommendations and case studies of good practice.

A technical advisory group of representative experts from Bali Process members has been established to provide guidance to the project. Once a draft of the toolkit has been developed, it will be piloted in at least one State. Bali Process members and technical experts will be given the opportunity to review the toolkit before it is published.

Click here to download the project concept note

Bali Process Policy Guides on the Identification and Protection of Victims of Trafficking

In August 2014, a Senior Officials Meeting of the Bali Process recommended a second set of policy guides be developed which focus on issues of identification and protection of victims of trafficking. These policy guides aim to provide a clear and concise overview of applicable international and regional standards for the identification and protection of victims of trafficking, drawing extensively on examples of good practices from Bali Process member countries for practical guidance.

A Drafting Committee was established by the RSO in consultation with interested Bali Process member states. The Committee met on four occasions to exchange views on the objectives, key audience, and thematic scope of the Policy Guides and agree on deadlines, TORs and a forward work-plan for the development of the Guides. Following the drafting of the Policy Guides a full Bali Process membership consultation workshop was held March 23-24, 2015. The workshop finalized the consultation process of the guides. The guides were endorsed at the 9th Ad Hoc Group Senior Officials' Meeting in Wellington, New Zealand on 6 May, 2015.

Click here for the final Policy Guides and workshop documents

The Drafting Committee was co-chaired by the Government of Indonesia and IOM. The drafting committee was further composed of experts from Australia, Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines and works with the support from the RSO. The consultation workshop was attended by more than 70 participants from 34 Member States, observers and international organizations.

Project on Mapping Disembarkation Options: Towards Strengthening Cooperation in Managing Irregular Movements by Sea

A meeting on Mapping Disembarkation Options: Towards Strengthening Cooperation in Managing Irregular Movements by Sea was held in March, 2014 which explored ways to strengthen cooperation in managing irregular maritime movements using a protection sensitive and regional approach. The meeting established the parameters, structure, content, and modalities of mapping disembarkation in some countries. Interested states may engage in the mapping of disembarkation options.

For all background documents and presentations (including Co-Chairs Statement), click here

The meeting, Mapping Disembarkation Options, was co-chaired by UNHCR and Indonesia. Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand participated with support from IOM and New Zealand.

RSO-CIFAL Partnership - Identification, Assistance, and Protection of Trafficking Victims in the Asia-Pacific Region

The RSO has developed a partnership with CIFAL-Jeju (South Korea) that provides training to a mix of local NGO and government actors through the Asia-Pacific aimed at Enhancing a Victim Centered Approach: Identification, Assistance, and Protection of Trafficking Victims in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Since March 2014, training sessions have been held two or more times a year at the CIFAL-Jeju training institute, which is sponsored by the Government of Korea.

A training curriculum on this topic has been developed to standardize and streamline identification, assistance and protection of trafficking victims in the region. 

Participants have included local government and selected civil society representatives from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam. Training facilitators and organisations contributing to the development of the training curriculum include representatives from IOM, government of New Zealand, UNACT, UNHCR, and GAATW.

Regional Roundtable on Irregular Movements by Sea:

This Regional Roundtable was convened in March 2013 to promote common understandings of conceptual issues to inform future cooperative arrangements between interested States.

3. Migration Management:

Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Programme (AVRR)

The "Voluntary Return Support and Reintegration Assistance for Bali Process Member States" (AVRR) Project is a Foundation Project of the Regional Support Office (RSO).

The AVRR Programme complements ongoing efforts by Bali Process members to reduce irregular migration in the region under the principles enshrined in the Regional Cooperation Framework (RCF).

The project provides a regional mechanism to assist the voluntary, safe and dignified return of irregular migrants. It also supports asylum seekers and refugees wishing to voluntarily return to their country of origin on the basis of an informed decision and in accordance with established UNHCR principles and procedures.

Assistance provided includes pre-departure counselling, pre-embarkation assistance and medical checks, transportation, reception and provision of reintegration grants all of which is tailored to the specific needs of the individual.

The AVRR project has facilitated the return of more than 482 persons during its first two years of implementation. The RSO will work towards assisting states to develop their own AVRR capabilities. A Capacity Building Workshop on Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration was held from 15-17 December, 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The AVRR Programme is implemented by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). This programme is open to all Bali Process member States seeking to assist in the voluntary, dignified and safe return of irregular migrants where no other mechanism exists for the individual's return.

Regional Biometric Data Exchange Solution

The Regional Biometric Data Exchange Solution (RBDES) aims to facilitate the exchange of biometric data between Bali Process members for identity verification purposes in a manner that addresses the diverse domestic contexts of the membership and complies with domestic laws and international obligations. Participation in the RBDES will be voluntary and non-binding.

To consult with Bali Process and stakeholders on the development of the RBDES, the RSO hosted a Roundtable on Biometric Data Sharing for Identity Verification in Bangkok on 15-16 October 2014. At the Roundtable, the establishment of the Biometric Data Exchange Review Committee and its terms of reference were endorsed.

The RBDES is being developed with oversight by the Biometric Data Exchange Review Committee and, following consultation with the membership, will aim to be endorsed at a Bali Process Ad Hoc Group Senior Officials meeting.

The policy framework supporting the RBDES is currently being finalized, following a consultation process with Bali Process members and observers that concluded on 31 July 2015.

The Review Committee is co-chaired by Australia and IOM and open to interested Bali Process members. The Committee will only provide guidance to the work of the RSO and will not commit Committee members to using the RBDES. To see the Terms of Reference, meeting outcome statements or participate in the committee, please contact info@rso.baliprocess.net.

For consultation details and background documents on the RBDES, click here

Regional Curriculum for Frontline Border Officials

A capacity-enhancement program for frontline border officials will be implemented which aims to strengthen the capacity of Bali Process member states to better address trafficking in persons, people smuggling and transnational crime through improved border management.

It is intended that, once developed, the curriculum will be integrated into selected member states' national training curricula and be available for use by all Bali Process member states.

On 27 January, a Technical Review Committee was hosted regarding the creation of a curriculum for Frontline Border Officials. Two more meetings will occur through to April, 2015.

IOM is implementing this project under the auspices of the RSO. This project is open to all Bali Process member states.

Thematic Briefs: Effective Practices on International Migration and Refugee Protection

A series of thematic briefs on Effective Practices on International Migration and Refugee Protection are being developed to focus on comprehensive responses to irregular migration that address protection and humanitarian needs. The briefs being developed aim to cover:

  • Profiling, identification and registration of asylum seekers and refugees
  • Initial reception arrangements

The user-friendly Briefs will identify good practices within the region and will include concise checklists and other tools for policy makers in accordance with international legal obligations.

Discussions of methodology and planning for the briefs are currently underway

The briefs are being jointly coordinated by IOM and UNHCR in conjunction with academic experts. Representatives of member states are invited to participate in this activity.

Thematic Brief: Effective Practices on Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR)

The RSO and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with the support of an academic expert developed a Thematic Brief on Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR). The brief explains the concept of AVRR and discusses key principles and signposts for the achievement of effective practice. On 15 May, 2015 the RSO organized an expert workshop on to give interested Bali Process members an opportunity to review a draft version of the brief and provide inputs. The thematic brief was finalized afterwards to reflect comments that were contributed.

To download a pdf of the Thematic Brief on Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR), click here.

The May 2015 expert workshop brought together experts from the governments of Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and IOM to discuss a draft version of the document developed by Ms. Dovelyn Mendoza of the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and IOM.

Reference Material:

Regional Data Harmonization Initiative:

Promoting improved information management between States and international organizations to enhance data collection, support further analysis and reporting, and facilitate information sharing and dialogue;

4. Prevention:

Bali Process Policy Guides on Criminalizing Migrant Smuggling and Trafficking in Persons

In April 2013 Bali Process Ministers directed the RSO, in consultation with member states, to develop guides for policy makers and practitioners focused on how to strengthen legislative frameworks to effectively criminalise trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling.

In March 2014, 15 Ad Hoc Group member states participated in a Bali Process consultation workshop to finalise two draft guides. The guides were endorsed by the Bali Process Ad Hoc Group in August, 2014.

For the final Policy Guides and workshop documents, please click here

The policy guides are being translated into Thai, Burmese, Bahasa, Khmer, Laotian, Urdu, and Vietnamese. A launch of the Sri Lankan translation of the guide was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on October 27, 2014, attended by the Secretary Minister of Justice, Sri Lanka.

A training-for-trainers program on the Policy Guides for government officials was held on the use of the guides.

The RSO will also launch the guides and hold training sessions throughout 2015.

This initiative was co-chaired by the Governments of Australia and Thailand. A drafting committee composed of experts from Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and UNODC, with support from IOM representatives to the RSO, developed the guides.

All member states had the opportunity to comment on the guides before they were finalized.

The member and observer states that participated in the Bali Process consultation workshop to finalise two draft guides were Afghanistan, Australia, Brunei, Bangladesh, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Denmark, DPR Korea, Fiji, Germany, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kiribati, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Turkey, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam.

Addressing Irregular Migration through Effective Information Campaigns Workshop and Handbook

Following on from the Bali Process Workshop, Best Practice Information Campaigns to Combat People Smuggling, hosted by New Zealand and Thailand in 2009, the governments of New Zealand and Indonesia co-hosted a two day workshop on Addressing Irregular Migration through Effective Information Campaigns.

The workshop facilitated the exchange of experiences and effective examples of migration related information campaigns, promoted discussions of the possibilities and limitations of information campaigns in affecting behaviour change and promoted sub-regional cooperation on information campaign development and implementation among countries of origin, transit, and destination

Participants suggested a practical guide or handbook on the design and implementation of information campaigns, which captures the best practice discussions of the Workshop, would be a useful tool or model for Bali Process member states.

The RSO developed this handbook in consultation with Member States, the Handbook was then presented to the Ninth Ad Hoc Group Senior Officials Meeting and is now available to members and interested parties.

More information on the completed Handbook on Addressing Irregular Migration through Effective Information Campaigns can be found here.

For a copy of the Handbook, please contact info@rso.baliprocess.net

The workshop was co-chaired by the Governments of New Zealand and Indonesia and was attended by representatives from Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Canada, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, USA, Vietnam, IOM, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the RSO. Experts from Plan International and British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Media Action also participated in the Workshop.

Visa Integrity training framework for foreign mission staff

This project aims to develop a Visa Integrity Training Framework for Foreign Mission Staff, recognizing that harmonized information and training, and coordinated and robust visa integrity processes will be critical in combatting the irregular movement of people in the region.

The training framework will meet the needs of Foreign Affairs staff operating in overseas missions as well as immigration and officers from other agencies involved in visa processes.

The training material will assist visa processing officers to understand and apply consistent and robust visa integrity processes to assist in identifying threats and underlying risks to visa regimes by persons seeking to move irregularly across borders.

The guide is currently under development.

The RSO will consult with member states to ensure the guidelines reflect good practice and welcomes the participation of interested members (refer to contacts at the end of this document).

Quick Reference Guide to assist frontline officers Immigration for Profiling Travellers and Travel Documents

The RSO will develop, produce and distribute a Quick Reference Guide to assist frontline officers profile travelers and travel documents, strengthening border management and the detection of people smuggling and human trafficking crimes.

Member input will be sought on the content, size and format of the guide to ensure that the guide is clear, concise and user friendly. The guide will be translated into national languages as required by the membership.

The guide is currently in development.

The RSO will consult with interested states on final drafts of this guide and welcomes the participation of interested members (refer to contacts at the end of this document).

Roundtable on Migration and Transnational Crime

A Working Group on Disrupting People Smuggling and Human Trafficking Networks was endorsed at the 8 th Ad Hoc Senior Officials Meeting of the Bali Process.

The working group aims to focus on challenges governments' face in dismantling transnational criminal networks involved in people smuggling and trafficking. The terms of reference for the future working group was approved by a Bali Process Senior Officials Meeting in August, 2014.

To assist in developing the forward work plan of the working group, a Roundtable on Migration and Transnational Crime was held on September 24, 2014.

The roundtable provided an opportunity for law enforcement, national security and border control officials to share information and consider the effectiveness of existing bilateral and multilateral forums in the region.

The RSO was tasked to undertake a comprehensive mapping exercise of existing regional operational forums to ensure that the Working Group's activities are complementary to other initiatives. The Roundtable also set the date for the first Working Group and outlined topics for discussion. The Outcome Statement of the Roundtable can be found here.

The First Working Group was held in 2015.

The working group is open to interested Ad Hoc Group members who hold a national security clearance.

5. Member Rosters

Roster of Experts on Migration Management:

The roster serves as a tool for capacity building of interested Bali Process members by making available legal, policy and operational expertise. The roster comprises experts nominated by Bali Process members and observers who are officials from governments, international organizations and civil society including NGOs.

Network of National Focal Points:

The network of RSO National Focal Points comprises national officials from Bali Process member government departments or ministries relevant to the scope of the Bali Process, with a senior level of authority and decision-making capacity. These officials have the role of facilitating information sharing, coordination and joint planning on RSO matters at a national level among key departments, as well as sharing information on immigration policies, procedures and practices. National Focal Points are also the primary recipients of information on RSO initiatives and events.

To become a National Focal Point, simply complete and return the RSO National Focal Point(s) Form.

Principles and Considerations for New Projects

At the Fourth Bali Process Regional Ministerial Conference in 2011, Ministers endorsed the development of an inclusive and non-binding regional cooperation framework (RCF) that was to be operationalized through bilateral and other sub-regional arrangements to enhance the region's response to irregular migration. A set of principles and considerations were agreed to guide the development of practical arrangements under the RCF.

The information sheet below outlines a range of criteria that underpin the consideration of new projects by the RSO.

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