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20 October 2015

Border security across Southeast Asia focus of new EU-ASEAN programme led by INTERPOL

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Enhancing border management and security across Southeast Asia is the focus of a new three-year European Union (EU) and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) programme led by INTERPOL.

The EU-ASEAN Migration and Border Management Programme II, funded by the EU and implemented by INTERPOL, is aimed at improving connectivity through strengthening law enforcement networks and cooperation at main regional transit hubs.

With increased economic development and regional integration within the ASEAN region, one of the primary aims of the programme is to provide regional support in tackling some of the negative aspects linked to the increased movement of people and products, such as illegal immigration, trafficking in illicit goods and people smuggling.

“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 the 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 member states, but at the same time ASEAN also seeks to strengthen relations with ASEAN Dialogue Partners and friends,” he added.

“The EU-ASEAN Border Management and Migration Programme, 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 specialist areas such as INTERPOL’s integrated border security policing capabilities, to combat human trafficking and people smuggling are key components of the programme which builds on the 2010 ‘Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity.’

“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 countries 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 official 20 October launch at the ASEAN secretariat in Jakarta will be followed by three workshops focusing on the main areas of activity of the programme. These include building and strengthening law enforcement capabilities to address border management challenges such as migrant smuggling and human trafficking through the extension of access to I-24/7 (INTERPOL’s secure global police communications system), training, operational activities and research.

During the second phase of the programme a research study will be carried out to assess the feasibility of a simplified visa procedure for ASEAN and non-ASEAN nationals to facilitate cross-border movement. An academic study will be conducted by a university in the region to provide in-depth analysis of existing procedures in order to provide recommendations for the ASEAN region.

The programme is a continuation of the successful 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 in Cambodia and eight in Vietnam.

The ten ASEAN countries are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

INTERPOL – supporting border policing capabilities in ASEAN and beyond

Francisco Fontan, Ambassador of the European Union to ASEAN

Sieng Lapresse, Government Advisor & SOMTC Leader, Cambodia

Ronny F. Sompie, Director General of Immigration, Indonesia

Press Conference: Launch of EU-ASEAN Migration and Border Management Programme II