The Australian Government welcomes Thailand’s initiative in hosting the Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean in Bangkok today.

The meeting has been called to highlight the importance of a regional response to tackle this issue. Addressing the root causes of people smuggling is critical to finding an effective regional solution.

Australia is a major donor to Burma and Bangladesh, supporting economic development that will reduce the motivation for people to risk their lives at sea.

Today we announce an additional $5 million in humanitarian assistance to Burma’s Rakhine State and the Cox’s Bazar region of Bangladesh building on the $6 million for humanitarian assistance to Burma announced last week.

It brings Australia’s total humanitarian assistance to Burma to over $20 million since 2014.

Australia remains committed to playing our part to address this regional challenge and has provided over $170 million since 2000 through the International Organization for Migration for victims of people smuggling in Indonesia.

Australia is one of the top three resettlement countries in the world, accepting large numbers of refugees referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from our region.

With partner countries Australia is working to strengthen criminal justice systems to counter human trafficking through the $50 million Australia-Asia Program to Combat Trafficking in Persons.

As Co-Chair of the Bali Process with Indonesia, Australia is also supporting improvements to law enforcement, legal capacity, border integrity and information campaigns across the region to tackle people smuggling.

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