JAKARTA, 20 October 2015 – The European Union and ASEAN today launched a three-year programme to enhance border management and security across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. Known as the EU-ASEAN Migration and Border Management Programme II (EA-MBMP II), the programme is aimed at improving connectivity through strengthening law enforcement networks and cooperation at main regional transit hubs. The EA-MBMP II is funded by the EU and the INTERPOL will be the implementing agency.
“With the current transnational organised crime that crosses national borders, increased cross-border control through the support of law enforcers is a key tool in suppressing transnational threats in ASEAN region,” said Sieng Lapresse, Government Advisor and Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) Leader of Cambodia. “The intra-regional connectivity within ASEAN would benefit all ASEAN Member States, but at the same time ASEAN also seeks to strengthen relations with ASEAN Dialogue Partners and friends,” he further added.
The programme is a continuation of the pilot EU-ASEAN Border Management Programme which saw the expansion of access to INTERPOL’s tools and services to frontline police in 16 sites – eight each in Cambodia and Viet Nam.
“The EU-ASEAN Migration and Border Management Programme II deals with some of the most challenging phenomenon of our current times – growing movement of people across borders in an ever more global and connected world. We can observe this phenomenon in all regions of the world, including in the ASEAN region and in Europe these days,” said Francisco Fontan, EU Ambassador to ASEAN. “This programme has been designed to better equip and support Southeast Asian countries’ authorities to manage their borders and effectively better address challenges posed by human trafficking and other transnational organised crimes; this in an effective way which also protects vulnerable groups and respects human dignity,” added Ambassador Fontan.
Capacity building and training, particularly in relation to specialised areas such as INTERPOL’s integrated tools and services to combat human trafficking and people smuggling, are key components of the programme.
“For law enforcement to be as effective as possible, it is vital that they have the information they need, when and where they need it, and this is especially true of border control points,” said Michael O’Connell, Director of INTERPOL’s Operational Support and Analysis unit. “This programme will enable INTERPOL to work with Member States throughout the ASEAN region and beyond to secure their borders, rescue victims of human trafficking and identify those involved in people smuggling,” added Mr. O’Connell.
The launch will subsequently be followed with the convening of three parallel workshops with the aim to strengthen the capabilities of law enforcement entities to maximally benefit from the Secure Global Police Information System and INTERPOL Secure Cloud through I-24/7 in their daily work; to empower law enforcement officials to address the current migrant smuggling, human trafficking and border management challenges; and to set the framework of the visa research study and select partner from academia that will conduct the study.
The Project Launch was attended by the Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Department, H.E. Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee; the Ambassador of the European Union, H.E. Francisco Fontan; representatives of the Committee of Permanent Representatives to ASEAN (CPR); representatives from the Embassies of ASEAN and EU Member States; INTERPOL; representatives from the Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime; and Directors-General of Immigration Department and Heads of Consular Affairs Division of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of all ASEAN Member States.
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