Australia, Sri Lanka discuss boat people issue

Australia and Sri Lanka had talks today over various issues concerning both countries including the boat people issue, sources said.

The talks had taken place in Bali, Indonesia between Australia’s Foreign Minister Bob Carr, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Brendan O’Connor and Sri Lanka’s Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem.

The meeting took place on the sidelines of the the 5th Ministerial Conference of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime.

Meanwhile in a separate statement O’Connor, who is leading the Australian delegation to Bali, welcomed a decision to link the Bali Process with the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC).

Senator Carr is co-chairing the Ministerial Conference with Indonesian Foreign Minister, Marty Natalegawa.

“JCLEC has led training in countering terrorism and is well placed to boost our region’s police and border security response to people smuggling and trafficking in persons,” O’Connor said.

“This partnership will bring together our law enforcement and immigration management experts to build capacity and strengthen the capabilities of countries in the region to help them to address people smuggling and human trafficking.”

Senator Carr said Bali Process Ministers also agreed to set up a working group to better coordinate and direct Bali Process efforts to address human trafficking.

“This new group will work with Governments, civil society organisations and the private sector in countering human trafficking and to support and protect its victims,” Senator Carr said.

“Importantly, it will focus on labour exploitation aspects of trafficking which is a serious problem in the region.

“By connecting the Bali Process with the good work being done by a range of groups such as World Vision, the Walk Free initiative, STOP THE TRAFFIK, and union and industry groups, we will be better able to address labour exploitation aspects of human trafficking.” (Colombo Gazette)