You are reading: Meet Bali Process Senior Official Co-Chairs Ambassador Tri Tharyat and Ambassador Lynn Bell Meet Bali Process Senior Official Co-Chairs Ambassador Tri Tharyat and Ambassador Lynn Bell
01 July 2024 |
Meet Bali Process Senior Official Co-Chairs Ambassador Tri Tharyat and Ambassador Lynn Bell

Following the 17th Bali Process Ad Hoc Group Senior Officials Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Florentina Tudose from the Regional Support Office of the Bali Process (RSO) sat down with Bali Process Senior Official Co-Chairs Ambassador Tri Tharyat—Indonesian Director-General for Multilateral Cooperation and Ambassador Lynn Bell—Australia’s Ambassador to Counter Modern Slavery, People Smuggling and Human Trafficking, to discuss their thoughts on progress to date against the Adelaide Strategy for Cooperation, and insights on Bali Process achievements, challenges and priorities.

 

Ambassadors and Co-Chairs, thank you for sitting down for chat with the RSO following a very successful Bali Process Senior Officials Meeting here in Kuala Lumpur.
Firstly, Ambassador Tharyat, what do you think are the biggest achievements of the Bali Process? How has the Bali Process helped to progress a regional response to people smuggling, trafficking in persons and related transnational crime?

Ambassador Tri Tharyat

The greatest achievement of the Bali Process lies in its remarkable ability to maintain its relevance in its 22 years of existence and its continued responsiveness to issues related to trafficking in persons and people smuggling. To give you one of the best examples of this adaptability, the Bali Process immediately addressed the rise in trafficking into forced criminality in cyber scam centres in 2021, by discussing this issue at the 8th ministerial meeting in Adelaide and continuing to push efforts to address it after, with practical and technical support from the RSO.

Up to this moment, we are happy to see that the Bali Process has advanced regional responses to trafficking in persons and people smuggling through the implementation of various concrete activities that enhances the capabilities of countries in the region through workshops, capacity building programs and research endeavours.

The Bali Process has not only fostered dialogue but has created real impacts for Members States enhancing the collective ability of the region to counter trafficking in persons and people smuggling effectively.

 

Ambassador Bell, what do you see as the biggest challenges for the region and the Bali Process in light of the reopening of international borders after COVID-19?

Ambassador Lynn Bell

Since the resumption of international travel, there have been several alarming trends that have emerged. The first is the growing abuse of social media, messaging platforms, and other technologies by criminal networks, which exacerbates exploitation of vulnerable people.

We have also observed ongoing irregular maritime movements in the Andaman Sea resulting from the displacement of Rohingya communities. We have seen tragic loss of life associated with those increased movements. We’re very sad to see the tragedy of what often unfolds when people make risky decisions to embark on unsafe voyages by sea. The ongoing conflict in Myanmar is a key driver of the irregular migration in our region.

The other real challenge that we hear about regularly from Bali Process Members is the trafficking of people into online scam centres, particularly in Southeast Asia, for forced criminality. This is a new and emerging type of human trafficking that has also taken in new types of people who might not have expected to be vulnerable to being trafficked. People who are highly educated and multilingual, as well as people who might be more traditionally thought of as vulnerable, have unfortunately been scammed through deceptive recruitment processes and that’s something that we’re working very hard across Bali Process membership to address.

 

 

The 2023 Adelaide Strategy is setting a high bar for Member States for reaching certain goals. What do you see as the priority pieces of work for the Bali Process Working Groups before the Ministerial Conference?

Ambassador Tri Tharyat

Lynn and I have listened carefully to the discussions of the Ad Hoc group at the Senior Officials’ meeting today. We heard that the Bali Process Working Groups still need to maintain focus on creating activities that support addressing our current priority issues which include irregular migration by sea as well as addressing online scams. I think these are very crucial as these issues are far from being resolved.

Working Groups can also broaden their horizons and encourage coordination and discussions regarding the interconnectedness of trafficking in persons and people smuggling with other international crimes such as illegal fishing, cyber-crime, illegal financial flows, corruption and drug trafficking. We believe that this approach would allow for a more comprehensive understanding of the challenges we face and enable more effective strategies to combat them. The Co-Chairs of the Bali Process are more than happy to work with the Co-Chairs of the Working Groups for this purpose.

 

The RSO is the practical and technical arm of the Bali Process responsible for implementing capability development initiatives and the only mechanism of the Bali Process that operates year-round with a dedicated office. How important is it for the Bali Process to have this dedicated office and where do you see the opportunities for member states to engage with the RSO—including through secondments and partnerships?

Ambassador Lynn Bell

The RSO is the only cooperation mechanism of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region, which makes it important, unique and a vital part of our efforts to combat significant transnational crime in the region. It’s a very important part of the Bali Process, giving practical support and translating the ambitions of members into real world impact.

The RSO delivers all kinds of fantastic capacity building for officials across the region. It publishes research, it engages with other groups working in the region and it establishes a contact and a network base, which is so useful right across the region for people who are working to combat people smuggling, human trafficking, and other transnational crimes.

There are abundant and varied opportunities for members to engage with the RSO. Members could provide funding and administrative support to the RSO, they could second officials to undertake projects and we’ve also seen sponsorship of other Member States to provide someone on a secondment to the RSO in a collaborative spirit.

Members and wider stakeholders can also consider partnerships to produce training and research and we’ve seen some great examples of partnership with the Global Initiative against Transnational  Organized Crime (GI- TOC) and with ASEAN–Australia Counter Trafficking (ASEAN-ACT).

Members can also engage by participating in training activities, as well as through the newly launched RSO Alumni Network, which seeks to promote network-building and information-sharing among practitioners from across the Bali Process region who have been trained by the RSO.

We also encourage Members to continue to ensure they nominate officials who can best engage and realise opportunities provided by the RSO’s annual events, including the Constructive Dialogue and Border Forum, and to actively participate in forums and thematic dialogues and other ad hoc events that happen through the year.

As Senior Official Co-Chairs, we wholeheartedly encourage members to make full use of the resources, networks, and capacity building opportunities the RSO has to offer.