Asean member states are set to enhance their cooperation to deal with trans-national crime, illegal migration, human trafficking and people smuggling.
They will also work together to address issues of regional and international concern to make the Asean immigration community stronger.
This was decided during the 21st meeting of Asean Directors General of Immigration Departments and Heads of Consular Affairs Divisions of Ministries of Foreign Affairs (DGICM) and related meetings held in Vientiane yesterday.
Speaking at the meeting, Director General of the Immigration Department under the Lao Ministry of Public Security, Police Lieutenant Colonel Saysaming Sivilay, said Asean is grappling with more difficult and complex issues and problems in the area of immigration as modern technology and devices are widely used by trans-national criminals.
He highlighted the major challenges and threats posed by terrorists to the security of Asean members, saying “This requires us to work closely together to address these challenges and threats.”
“As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, we have seen there is a lot more to learn and share within our sphere of tasks and responsibilities, and at the same time we know that criminal threats are also transcending national boundaries and it is crucial for the Asean DGICM to embrace innovation and deal with crime and security threats in our region.”
Lt Col Saysaming emphasised that, in the face of these challenges, Asean immigration forces have responded decisively with closer collaboration and joint initiatives to combat illegal migrants and other forms of trans-national crime.
“As we are strongly committed in our regional cooperation to work together, we now have more channels of communication and share our practical information on best practices in dealing with more common and new arising issues and matters related to immigration in the region,” he said.
To strengthen cooperation and friendship among Asean members and to keep the region safe and secure, officials from Asean immigration and consular agencies need to discuss and exchange information, intelligence and border management issues, Deputy Minister of Public Security, Major-General Kongthong Phongvichith, said.
“We gather here today with more common ground and expectation for new, practical and effective ways of working together in the frontline, as mentioned in our responsibilities to deal with and combat such issues as trans-national crimes, terrorism, people smuggling, and imposters, and to build capacity for immigration officers in some Asean member states,” he added.