Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN Political Security Community Department
Honourable Chiefs of Police of ASEAN Member States, Honourable Heads of Delegation from Australia, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Interpol and the ASEANAPOL Secretariat,
Ladies and Gentlemen, It gives me great pleasure to represent the Secretary-General of ASEAN and the ASEAN Secretariat at this auspicious gathering of the Chiefs of Police from ASEAN Member States and the Delegations from Dialogue Partner Countries.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank the Royal Thai Police for inviting us to this important meeting and for the warm hospitality accorded to the ASEAN Secretariat Delegation.
At the outset, I would like to express our heartfelt congratulations to ASEANAPOL on its long standing existence of 33 years, and for your contribution to the peace and stability of the ASEAN region. ASEANAPOL has come a long way, from an informal gathering of Chiefs of Police from a few ASEAN Member States, to an insitutionalised regional Police Forum, representing the Police Forces of all 10 ASEAN Member States in 2010. We look forward to the further progression of ASEANAPOL into a strong pillar of regional peace and security.
Excellencies, Ladies and Distinguished Guests, ASEAN is only three years away from its target of establishing an ASEAN Community by the end of 2015. Although many of the targets on integration can be met in time, for some, like regional peace and security, we need to be pragmatic and be aware of the challenges that exist and which will continue to persist in the future. In retrospect, since their inception, relevant sectoral bodies in ASEAN have been relentlessly striving to combat transnational crime and challenges threatening regional security and stability. Although crime prevention has been successful to a certain extent, more could and should be done for the protection of the peoples of ASEAN, especially women and children.
Human Trafficking is increasingly becoming the second most prevalent crime in the world, surpassed only by drugs trafficking, and this global crime generates billions of dollars in profits for the perpetrators. In ASEAN, the vulnerable, i.e., women and children, especially from the Mekong sub-region, are being preyed upon and lured into the clutches of organized criminal groups. Sexual exploitation and trafficking of children, especially girls, has also increased, according to the UNODC Trafficking Global Report that was released this month. Although progress has been made in the fight against trafficking in persons with almost all ASEAN Member States passing domestic laws criminating it as a crime, progress in getting conviction for offenders is still limited. This scenario highlights the fact that tackling Human Trafficking requires a concerted effort and a strong response founded on rigorous criminal justice system, sound migration policy and firm regulation of labour markets and cross-border and regional collaboration.
Illicit drug trafficking remains the most prevalent threat in ASEAN. Despite the significant increase in arrests and seizures of illicit drugs trafficking, the number of drug abuse cases and production of narcotic drugs are on the rise. The ASEAN Special Ministerial Meeting on Drugs Matters, hosted by Thailand in August 2012, made substantive recommendations. The Second Special Ministerial Meeting will be hosted by Brunei Darussalam in early September this year. It is hoped that strategic guidelines, in particular, on the attainment of ASEAN's Vision of a Drug Free ASEAN by 2015, will be transpired at the Ministerial meeting.
With regards to counter-terrorism, I am pleased to inform you that all ASEAN Member States have ratified the ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism( ACCT).
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, The challenges that our region and our law enforcement agencies encounter are numerous - from arms smuggling, money laundering, and call centre scams, to smuggling of migrants. We cannot afford to be complacent with the success that has been achieved thus far. We must be vigilant, ready and always be ahead of criminals and criminal networks. As we are building a community for over 600 million people of ASEAN, all stakeholders must join hands for the betterment of our people, and for our future generations.
In the spirit of ASEAN Solidarity, I would therefore like to call upon ASEANAPOL to join in the ASEAN Community building process as the commanding reinforcement to the peace and security of the region. In concluding, I wish the 33rd ASEANAPOL Conference every success in its deliberations. Thank you.
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