Interpol has initiated a coordinated border operation between immigration and police agencies in Southeast Asia to prevent the movement of criminals or terror suspects and increase security in the region. (Photo courtesy of Interpol)

Interpol Helps Increase Regional Security in Southeast Asia

BY : SHEANY

JUNE 12, 2017

Jakarta. Interpol has initiated a coordinated border operation between immigration and police agencies in Southeast Asia to prevent the movement of criminals or terror suspects and increase security in the region.

"Asean is a very diverse region [...] It's very important that on issues of domestic security, the government professionals on the ground [and daily] share a certain level of understanding on what the issues are and how to work with your neighbors," Francisco Fontan, the European Union's ambassador to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) said in a video released by Interpol on Monday (12/06).

Operation Red Lotus II, held under the second EU-Asean Migration and Border Management Program, took place at international airports in Denpasar, Manila, Phnom Penh and Yangon during May.

The operation resulted in the identification of more than 200 potential threats, after more than 18 million searches by immigration and police authorities against Interpol's global database.

"Red Lotus is very important for us. Through this operation we received lots of information on the movement of unwanted persons. Our collaboration with Interpol and the EU is very important in helping stop suspected criminals from coming to Bali," Ari Budijanto, head immigration at Ngurah Rai International Airport, said as quoted in a statement released by the Interpol.

Indonesia will host the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank in Bali next year, with more than 13,000 participants from 189 countries expected to attend.

Ari said the operation contributes greatly to strengthening security, especially in Bali, which is especially important during high-profile events such as those scheduled for October 2018.

Harold O'Connell, Interpol's director of capacity building and training, said in the same statement that the program allows its participants to combine their respective resources and "fully exploit Interpol's global policing and training capabilities to instill an institutional standard to help law enforcement agencies work seamlessly across the region to prevent criminals from crossing borders."

In an uncertain international climate and increasing threats of radicalism and terrorism, border security measures aimed at preventing unwanted movements of suspected criminals play a crucial role in minimizing potential incidents.

EU Ambassador Fontan said the operation is a great way to increase cooperation in Southeast Asia, adding that this is a matter of direct interest in the security of Europeans as well.

The second EU-Asean Migration and Border Management Program, launched in October 2015, is a three-year program funded by the EU and implemented by Interpol. A previous pilot program kicked off in 2012.

The program supports Asean in its integration process through the implementation of the Master Plan on Asean Connectivity.

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