Lanka agrees to Jakarta declaration

Sri Lanka and 13 other countries today reinforced their commitment to pursue coordinated joint actions in the fields of prevention, early detection, protection and prosecution to address the irregular movement of persons.The agreement was reached at the Jakarta Declaration on Addressing Irregular Movement of Persons at the conclusion of the Special Conference On Irregular Movements of Persons, held at the initiative of Indonesia, the Bernama news agency reported. The Malaysian delegation to the special session was led by Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.Ahmad Zahid said the important decision achieved today was most significant as it was the first time that coordinated action would be taken multilaterally by the countries concerned to tackle the irregular movement of persons. The countries that participated in the special session today were Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. The special session today was to support regional initiatives through the ‘Bali Process’ mechanism to tackle issues concerning the irregular movement of persons including human trafficking, smuggling of migrants and matters pertaining to cross-border crime. “The multilateral action will become an SOP (standard operating procedure), not only among the countries involved in the conference but may also be applied to several other countries…in the case of Malaysia, countries from Africa,” he said.The minister said that in Malaysia, for example, although there were foreign students coming to study in Malaysia, they had abused their student visa to commit crime.Such criminal activities included drug trafficking and indulging in business activities, which were not included in the approval given to the foreign students. The conference, chaired by Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, involved 14 countries of origin, transit or destination in the problem of irregular movements of persons.