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19 November 2009

Asean to set up immigration database

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Ten Southeast Asian nations pledged yesterday to create a regional immigration database to catch criminals and terrorists going across their borders, AFP reported.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) agreed to set up "an immigration database so we can track blacklisted nationals", said Philippine immigration spokesman Floro Balato.

"This applies to everybody (involved in) terror activities, illegal activities and transnational crimes," said Balato at the end of the two-day meeting of Asean immigration officials.

The group gave no timetable for completing the project, with Balato saying some members still did not even have advanced immigration databases of their own.

Asean groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

"This is a continuing dialogue," Balato told reporters.

Australian deputy secretary of immigration Bob Correll warned on the surge of illegal migrants into Southeast Asia in the last 12 months and discussed ways Australia and Asean could cooperate in this area, a conference statement said.

"Specifically delegates agreed on the need for further cooperation in intelligence analysis, information sharing, facial-image analysis, immigration investigations, visa integrity and the integration of immigration capabilities," it added.


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