Statement from the Secretariat of the Asia Dialogue for Forced Migration
The Secretariat of the Asia Dialogue on Forced Migration (ADFM) welcomes the leadership and cooperation shown by the Bali Process Co-Chairs in their decision at the 8th Bali Process Ministerial Meeting in Adelaide to trigger the Bali Process Consultation Mechanism.
This decision is a timely and necessary response to a significant increase in movements of people in the Indo-Pacific region, the vast majority of whom are Rohingya seeking freedom from fear and protection from rights violations and violence in Myanmar.
It is consistent with the purpose for which the Consultation Mechanism was designed after the 2015 Andaman Sea crisis, with the recommendations of UN agencies and NGOs, and with the values shared by the Co-Chairs.
It can prevent further harm, preserve life and uphold the rule of law by undermining the people smuggling business model and promoting cooperative action amongst affected states.
It demonstrates the Co-Chairs’ collaboration and leadership on the issues of the most concern to our region.
The ADFM Secretariat has been deeply concerned by the six-fold increase in boat movements in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal. More than 3,500 people, the vast majority Rohingya seeking freedom and protection from violence in Myanmar, attempted dangerous voyages in 2022 on 39 boats. At least 15 of these were in the last two months of the year, and an estimated 350 people died, making it the deadliest year in a decade.
It is important that the Consultation Mechanism is implemented flexibly and in close collaboration with affected states and other relevant stakeholders, to promote and protect already marginalised groups of people from further forms of harm.
The ADFM Secretariat and network offers our support to the Co-Chairs in developing next steps, and further measures to support a coherent regional response to forced migration that is durable, dignified and effective.
About the Consultation Mechanism
The Consultation Mechanism was created by the Bali Process in 2016 as a means of facilitating fast communication and coordination among members in emergency situations.
The Bali Process Ministers authorised the co-chairs to consult and, if necessary, convene meetings to discuss urgent irregular migration issues with affected and interested countries in response to current regional issues or future emergency situations.
It was a result of a review of the 2015 Andaman Sea crisis and lack of coherent regional response. The Mechanism was previously triggered in September 2017, in response to the mass violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar and their exodus to Bangladesh.
About the Asia Dialogue on Forced Migration
The ADFM was established in August 2015 as a ‘second track’ process pursuing more effective, durable and dignified approaches to forced migration in the Asia-Pacific. It has worked with the Bali Process over this time to provide input and advice on how it can be strengthened. The ADFM Secretariat’s report Future Ready was released last year to mark the Bali Process’ 20th anniversary and outline eight recommendations for reform.