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Myanmar advisory committee looks to the future of its Border Liaison Offices (BLO)

Nay Pyi Taw (Myanmar), 3 July 2015
- Myanmar's national advisory committee overseeing its Border Liaison Offices (BLOs) met to discuss priorities in stopping emerging transnational crime threats. In his opening remarks, Police Brigadier General Thein Oo, Deputy Chief of Myanmar Police and Chairman of the committee, emphasized his support for the UNODC-supported BLO network, by stating that BLOs, "not only provide technical and instrumental assistance but also enhance the good cooperation and correlation within neighboring countries."

A BLO is a coordinating office for national law enforcement agencies which facilitates and promotes greater cross-border cooperation to counter transnational organized crimes. Located near recognized border crossings, BLOs act as a centralized clearing house for information received from the vicinity of border areas and as a point where joint actions can be taken and coordinated. UNODC currently supports five BLOs in Myanmar.

Thirteen officers representing Police, Customs, Immigration, Forestry, Trade and Technology Ministries attended the coordination meeting to discuss new strategies to counter cross-border smuggling of migrants, human trafficking, and trafficking of drugs, weapons, illegal timber and other commodities. The committee agreed that continued investments in standardized training and equipping of frontline officers will increase communication and cooperation with their counterparts across the border.

UNODC distributed copies of its new anti-smuggling training manual for frontline border officers in Burmese, which provides officers of all relevant agencies with the basic knowledge, terminology and skills to identify and stop transnational organized crimes. By providing standardized training manuals and related materials in local languages, UNODC helps to prepare frontline officers to counter rapidly evolving transnational crime threats in isolated border areas.

The UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime and related protocols provide UNODC with the mandate to assist Member States in their struggle against various forms of transnational organized crime. Support by the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection has enabled the UNODC Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific to conduct local trainings, workshops and capacity building initiatives to strengthen border management in Myanmar and throughout the Greater Mekong Sub-region as part of its Regional Programme for Southeast Asia 2014-2017 sub-programme on Transnational Organised Crime and Illicit Trafficking.