KUALA LUMPUR - Viet Nam has affirmed it will work closely with regional countries in dealing with the "irregular movement of persons in Southeast Asia."
It has also reiterated its determination to fight human trafficking and illegal immigration.
Addressing the Emergency ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime (EAMMTC) in Malaysia yesterday, Deputy Minister of Public Security To Lam said the irregular movement of persons in the region has become a complicated problem that threatens to become a crisis.
Such movements will affect political stability and have negative impacts on the plan to establish an ASEAN Community by the end of this year, he said.
Viet Nam would like to have a thorough, rapid solution to the problem so as to avoid sensitive problems arising between countries in the region, he said.
He added that all countries in the region should join hands in carrying out emergency measures, enhance search and rescue missions, information sharing and support for countries engaged in providing relief.
The meeting was chaired by Malaysian Minister of Home Affairs, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who said the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) was assigned to research illegal immigration and trafficking, and to make it a priority activity for EAMMTC and SOMTC. It is also tasked with strengthening law enforcement against human trafficking, illegal immigration and other crimes at national and regional levels.
Hamidi also stressed the importance of taking full advantage of the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters to ensure that ASEAN countries have adequate tools to prosecute offenders and bring them to justice.
He said it was important to strengthen co-operation with ASEAN dialogue partners and international organisations to combat human trafficking and illegal immigration, as well as support the establishment of funds to provide humanitarian assistance. He also stressed the need to address challenges posed by the irregular movement of persons in the region.
Participants agreed on a proposal to establish a task force to deal with emergencies and crises arising out of this activity.
The meeting was attended by representatives from 10 ASEAN country members, the ASEAN Secretariat, the United National High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, International Organisation for Migration and the US State Department.