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Indonesia and UNODC join forces to address migrant smuggling

Jakarta (Indonesia), 4 November 2010
- On 5 and 6 October, a workshop entitled "Irregular migration and migrant smuggling: challenges and responses in Indonesia" was held by the Government of Indonesia in cooperation with UNODC. The objective of the workshop was to foster inter-agency cooperation and to develop a comprehensive Indonesian response to migrant smuggling.

Moreover, with a view to adopting a truly global approach to migrant smuggling, on 13 October Indonesia joined forces with UNODC on a project aimed at establishing a coordination and analysis unit for East Asia and the Pacific.

The participants in this project aim to increase coordination among law enforcement agencies from various countries and establish an institutionalized data collection and analysis mechanism on the smuggling of migrants from, through and within South-East Asia.

In Indonesia, the project is executed under the leadership of the Directorate General of Immigration in cooperation with UNODC, which, as the guardian of the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, is mandated to assist Member States in developing an effective criminal justice response to migrant smuggling.

Crucial to supporting Member States and to formulating and implementing informed policies is the fostering of evidence-based knowledge on this crime, which is why the Directorate General of Immigration and UNODC have agreed to carry out research and interviews, to gain further insight into migrants' attitudes, motivations, experiences and vulnerabilities.

On 12 November, a letter of intent on implementation of the coordination and analysis unit was signed by the Government of Indonesia and UNODC.

In 2009 and 2010, there has been an increase in the number of migrants smuggled from West and South Asia to Australia, with Indonesia becoming an important stepping stone along that route. In order to minimize the risk of being detected, migrant smugglers are once again resorting to cramping migrants into boats, exposing their human cargo to untold risks.

In the Bangkok Statement on Migration and Development, 31 Governments of Asia and the Pacific stressed that addressing migrant smuggling in a comprehensive way meant, among other things, reducing impunity for migrant smugglers.

The Government of Indonesia has now joined forces with UNODC in an effort to live up to the commitment made in the Bangkok Statement.