Major Agreement on People Smuggling Signed with Indonesia Police



The Republic of Indonesia is a key transit country for irregular migrant movements. It is the largest country in Southeast Asia, an archipelago comprised of more than 17,000 islands, with a total land area of almost two million square kilometres, and 93,000 square kilometres of inland seas (straits, bays and other bodies of water). The additional surrounding sea areas bring Indonesia’s land/sea territory to about five million square kilometres, with a porous coastline of 54,716 kilometres.  

Irregular migrants start out from their countries of origin either flying directly to Indonesia, or by first flying to a neighbouring country and onwards by sea or air.   Indonesia hosts significant numbers of displaced populations of smuggled migrants – according to UNHCR statistics as of August 2014 there are 9,581 “persons of concern” in Indonesia:  5,450 asylum seekers and 4,131 refugees.

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Indonesia - IOM in Indonesia yesterday signed a landmark agreement on people smuggling and human trafficking with the Indonesian National Police (INP), the third largest police force in the world, in the world’s fourth most populous country.

The agreement reinforces an already close and productive relationship – since 2003 IOM has trained 111,000 police officers in community policing, human rights and gender issues, and 7,000 more on combating people smuggling. Furthermore, 8,200 officers (1,200 of them female) have been trained to work in the front line in the fight against smuggling, directly with the migrants concerned and with anti-smuggling organizations.

“This agreement is the product of many years of successful work together,” noted IOM’s Chief of Mission in Indonesia, Denis Nihill, who signed the agreement alongside General Sugeng Priyanto, Head of the International Relations Division of the INP.

“Now we can join hands and develop new ways of combating the scourge of people smuggling, which wrecks countless lives and is a major obstacle to well managed migration,” he added.

As well as cementing an already-successful partnership, the agreement – focusing on programme development, education and training – will further enhance progress of the INP’s 20-year INP Grand Reform Strategy 2005–2025.

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Denis Nihill
IOM Indonesia