Jakarta Declaration is a call to tackle people smuggling and human trafficking."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Australian government has put into effect a stricter immigration policy to prevent more asylum seekers from entering the country illegally, according to Australian ambassador to Indonesia Greg Moriarty.

The Australian government has introduced a range of offshore processing measures to deter illegal people smuggling, said the ambassador, in a written statement to ANTARA News, received here on Friday.

"We also remain committed to working in close partnership with our neighbors in order to strengthen regional capability and border security for combating people smuggling and other transnational crimes," Moriarty said.

Australia`s new Regional Settlement Arrangement was officially brought into effect on July 31, after the first group of asylum seekers, consisting of 40 people, was transferred from Christmas Island to Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, he noted.

"And today, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship confirmed the successful transfer to Papua New Guinea of the second group, comprising 39 asylum seekers, under the new regional settlement arrangement," Moriarty continued.

These transfers, he added, will send a clear message that arriving in Australia by boat is not the way to gain Australian residency.

Under the new arrangement, asylum seekers arriving on Australian shores without proper authorization will be sent off to Papua New Guinea for assessment and, if found to be refugees, will be resettled there.

The new policy is aimed at discouraging people from paying thousands of dollars to people smugglers for buying a ticket to Australia.

However, to follow up on issues concerning asylum seekers and boat people, Indonesia, as a transit country for asylum seekers, proposed to hold a meeting among countries involved in the matter.

"On August 20, Indonesia will send invitations to the 14 countries that we think are interested in this issue, whether they be origin, transit or destination countries, as part of efforts to issue a Jakarta Declaration," said Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister MartyNatalegawa here on Thursday (August 1).

"Jakarta Declaration is a call to tackle people smuggling and human trafficking," he added.

Indonesia, which will host the Jakarta Declaration, has received positive responses from the countries it has invited. Australia plans to send its Immigration Minister and Foreign Minister to the event.

Among other invited countries are Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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