Second meeting | ASIA DIALOGUE ON FORCED MIGRATION | January 2016

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  • Second meeting | ASIA DIALOGUE ON FORCED MIGRATION | January 2016

The second Dialogue meeting took place in late January 2016. Download key documents below and read on for more about the meeting, including photos.

Key documents for the second Dialogue meeting:

Participant profiles

Full agenda and participant list

Briefing papers

Dr Hassan Wirajuda’s keynote speech at the Dialogue dinner

Further information: 

For the Dialogue home page click here

To find out more about the rationale behind the Dialogue process click here.

To read more about the first Dialogue meeting in Melbourne in August 2015 click here.

The second meeting of the Asia Dialogue on Forced Migration was held in Bangkok on 28-30 January 2016.

The Dialogue was hosted in Thailand by Mahidol University’s Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies (IHRP), and enjoyed the support of Dr Surin Pitsuwan, former Secretary General of ASEAN, and Dr Hassan Wirajuda, former Foreign Minister of Indonesia, who both addressed Dialogue members and urged us to continue pursuing solutions in this important area.


Sriprapha Petcharamesree  (IHRP) and Peter Hughes (CPD Fellow)

Objectives and discussion 

We hoped to build on the trust, creativity and intent we had established in our first meeting, while welcoming in a strong and diverse group of new Dialogue members. New members included David Irvine (former Australian Director General of Security), Bhornchart Bunnag (former Deputy Secretary General of the National Security Council, Thailand), Muhd Khair Razman bin Mohamed Annuar (Principal Private Secretary to Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister) and Janet Lim (Former UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Operations). We believe the group demonstrated great dynamism and good will with an excellent cross section and depth of perspectives from the region. 

The second Dialogue meeting focussed on better long-term preparedness for mass forced displacement in the region, including the national capacities, policies, standards and regional structures needed to respond better to all forms of forced migration now, and into the future.

Dialogue members considered the case study of Rohingya out-flows in the region to understand lessons and possible improvements. Options for more active and resilient regional architecture to respond to current and future population movements were canvassed. The strong links between forced migration and smuggling, trafficking and transnational crime were also discussed.

Dialogue recommendations and outcomes 

Timed to come immediately before the Bali Process Ad Hoc Group Senior Officials meeting (in Bangkok on 2 February 2016), the second Dialogue meeting made recommendations to the upcoming Bali Process Ministerial Meeting (scheduled for March 2016).

These recommendations were presented in a letter on 31 January 2016 from the Dialogue to the Co-Chairs of the Bali Process Ad Hoc Group Senior Officials meeting in the following terms:

The purpose of this letter is to submit the Dialogue’s recommendations for the upcoming Bali Process Ministerial Meeting. We urge you and your colleagues attending the AHG SOM for the Bali Process to give them full consideration.


The Dialogue is an emerging regional forum for independent and inclusive policy development on forced migration. Our objective is to support the development of a more effective, durable and dignified approach to forced migration. We comprise individuals from government, non-government organisations, policy and academic institutions, and international organisations from within and beyond the region, acting in their personal capacities.

Forced migration around the world is a persistent and increasing global phenomenon that unless properly managed will have permanent and intensifying negative impacts on countries in our region. A collective, coordinated response to challenges associated with both sudden and ongoing episodes of displacement, regardless of cause, is vital to ensure continued regional security, harmony and prosperity.

The Dialogue believes the Bali Process can and must play an important role in ensuring more effective and predictable responses to regional displacement events. Forced migration, if not properly and consistently addressed, contributes directly to smuggling, trafficking and transnational crime.

Just as individual members of the Bali Process plan for natural disasters, so too should the Bali Process plan for sudden and ongoing displacement of people. A strong and flexible regional architecture for dealing with current and future episodes of displacement is urgently required. 


The Dialogue recommends the Bali Process Ministerial Meeting authorise senior officials to:

(a) review the response to the 2015 Andaman Sea situation, the resulting caseload, and ongoing maritime movements there and in the Bay of Bengal, within the commitments and principles outlined in the Regional Cooperation Framework (‘RCF’), to share those lessons among Bali Process members and work to implement necessary improvements; and

(b) take a broader focus and, drawing on the RCF, make any recommendations necessary to improve national and regional contingency planning and preparedness to enable more predictable and effective responses on forced migration, utilising existing capacity such as in ASEAN, IOM, UNHCR and civil society. Recommendations should reflect the principles that effective policy responses require shared responsibility and distributed capacities.

The Dialogue offers to support the Bali Process in these endeavours to develop a more effective regional architecture over time.

These recommendations are made with a view to upcoming fora relevant to the Bali Process, including the UN High-Level meeting on ways to address large movements of refugees and migrants on 19 September 2016. 

The Bali Process Ad Hoc Group Senior Officials responded positively to the recommendations made by the Dialogue at their meeting in Bangkok on 2 February, agreeing to submit them to Ministers next month in Bali. The Co-Chairs’ of the Ad Hoc Group Senior Officials released a statement following their meeting, and referred directly to the Dialogue in paragraph [12]:

The Meeting welcomed an update from the Co-Chairs on the recent meeting of the Track II Dialogue on Forced Migration, held in Bangkok on 29-30 January 2016, and noted recommendations sent by the Dialogue conveners to the Bali Process Co-Chairs. Members agreed to recommend to Bali Process Ministers that officials be tasked to conduct a review of the regional response to last year’s irregular migration events in the Andaman Sea, and share the lessons among Bali Process members. It will also identify recommendations to improve national and regional contingency planning and preparedness to enable more predictable and effective responses on forced migration. Members reaffirmed the importance of engagement with the Track II Dialogue and other civil society, and agreed that the Co-Chairs continue such efforts to engage with key civil society stakeholders.

The recommendations from the Asia Dialogue on Forced Migration were adopted by the Bali Process Minister at the Ministerial Meeting, held in late March, and were picked up in both the Ministerial Declaration and the Co-Chairs’ Statement.

There will now be a formal review by the Bali Process of the Andaman Sea crisis of 2015 to draw lessons learned and work to implement necessary improvements, including to contingency planning and preparedness. This was the second decision and recommendation in the Co-Chairs’ Statement. Equally as important, a new mechanism has been created which authorises senior official to consult and convene meetings with affected and interested countries in response to irregular migration issues or future emergency situations. This was the fifth decision and recommendation in the Co-Chairs’ Statement and supplies the capability for key countries to be proactive on these issues, including by being able to take preventative action.

Both the Declaration and the Co-Chairs’ statement noted the growing scale and complexity of irregular migration in the region and the tragic loss of life and exploitation involved. This was evident in the text of the Declaration and Co-Chairs’ Statement, some of which referred to protection for refugees and asylum seekers. In the Co-Chairs’ Statement from the Senior Official Meeting, held the day before the Ministerial Meeting, senior officials welcomed inputs from the Dialogue, and endorsed and supported Dialogue recommendations.

The Asia Dialogue on Forced Migration hopes to support the Bali Process in its endeavours to develop a more effective regional architecture over time. We will continue our work to ensure Bali Process announcements translate into effective, dignified and durable regional and national approaches to forced migration. We intend to develop stronger links to other regional forums and processes, including ASEAN, over the course of the Dialogue.

Government and non-government Dialogue members universally showed strong commitment to the overall process and maintaining involvement. The next two meetings will be held in Malaysia in September 2016 and Indonesia in early 2017.

We are pleased to say the Dialogue is already providing a flexible, sustainable and credible platform for regional cooperation and for influencing government policy.



Asia Dialogue of Forced Migration speakers – Surin Pitsuwan (former Secretary General of ASEAN), Dr Sansanee C. Chaiyaroj (Mahidol University), Travers McLeod (CEO CPD), and Hassan Wirajuda (former Indonesia Foreign Minister)


John Menadue (CPD Fellow), Alice Nah (University of York) and Andy Rachmianto (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Indonesia)


 Rafendi Djamin (former Indonesian representative AICHR), Tri Nuke Pudjiastuti (LIPI), and Alice Nah (University of York)