JAKARTA - Countries in the Asia-Pacific region agreed to increase cooperation in fighting against people smuggling and to form a regional mechanism to solve the problem, a press statement said on Friday.
The agreement was reached at the Bali Process Ad Hoc Group Senior Officials' Meeting (AHG SOM) and Bali Process Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) in Indonesia's Bali on March 9-10.
The agreement says that countries restated their commitment on regional cooperation of Bali Process as a joint effort to address issues of people smuggling and human trafficking in the region.
It also says that the countries have agreed to form a regional mechanism that is expected to be a solution in addressing the irregular migration in the region. This is based on awareness that irregular migration is not a problem faced by certain countries but it is a common problem.
The countries also agreed on the importance to increase cooperation in addressing human trafficking through the Bali Process forum, and Indonesia will host a regional workshop on combating trafficking in persons in the second half of 2011.
The AHG SOM was joined by 12 most affected countries, consisting of origin, transit and irregular migration destination countries and two international organizations -- the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioners for Refugees (UNHCR).
The Philippines, Canada and the United States as well as the ASEAN Secretariat and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime acted as observers.
Meanwhile, the SOM was attended by 41 countries and two international organizations as members of the Bali Process as well as four countries and five international organizations as observers.
As a follow up, the Bali Regional Ministerial Conference (BRMC) IV in the province will be held on March 29-30.