Our main task is to increase the role of the Bali Process
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi called for close cooperation for dealing with human trafficking while leading an international meeting in Paris on Monday.

The Foreign Ministers' Meeting of the Bali Process Steering Group (SGMM) was initiated by Marsudi, the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement released on Monday.

The Australian Foreign Minister served as co-chair and the foreign ministers of Thailand and New Zealand as members of the Bali Process Steering Group at the meeting, which was also attended by senior officials from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

"Our main task is to increase the role of the Bali Process through new and concrete steps for handling a variety of unique and complex migration cases in the region amidst the (COVID-19) pandemic and the increasing challenges to regional stability,” Marsudi said.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the meeting also discussed the significance of reviving and revitalizing the Bali Process, the plan to commemorate 20 years of the Bali Process this year, and the plan to hold the eighth Bali Process Ministerial Conference (BPMC) at the end of 2022.

All the steps to be taken will hopefully strengthen the Bali Process to thwart human smuggling, human trafficking, and other transnational crimes, Marsudi said at the meeting.

She also called for close cooperation under the Bali Process mechanism to address regular migration issues collectively and proportionally in the region, including during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has increasingly added to the challenge of handling regular migrants.

She noted that the pandemic has raised the risk of human smuggling and trafficking, particularly the exploitation of children and women.

To that end, she said that efforts to handle regular migrants must constantly be made to enable the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of regular migrants.

She reiterated the significance of involving the business sector in helping ensure transparent supply chains, ethical recruitment, and compensation for workers, particularly in view of the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on migrant workers.

"Looking ahead, the Bali Process must serve as an adaptive and responsive regional mechanism to face the challenge to regular migration in the region. For this part, we need to increase capacity, build self-confidence and coordinate more closely various mechanisms in the Bali Process," she said.

The Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime (Bali Process) is the only regional consultation process addressing regular migration issues in the region, according to the Foreign Ministry.

In the 20 years of its existence, it has contributed not only to building dialogue on regular migration but also developing regional guidance and capacity, it added.

The Bali Process was set up by Indonesia and Australia in 2002. Its members comprise 45 countries and entities and four international organizations—UNHCR, IOM, UNODC, and ILO.

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Translator: Yuni Arisandy S, Suharto
Editor: Sri Haryati
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