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Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - NEWS -

He said this at open­ing of the the sec­ond phase of the Project ‘RE­LAY’ fa­cil­i­tated by In­ter­pol and stressed the need for strength­en­ing the coun­try’s le­gal frame­work to counter hu­man smug­gling.

The project was launched by In­ter­pol to train law en­force­ment of­fi­cers, in­ves­ti­ga­tors and front­line bor­der units against smug­gling.

The min­is­ter said mi­grants con­tinue trav­el­ling with­out fear of be­ing ap­pre­hended, be­cause of the ab­sence or in­ad­e­quacy of leg­is­la­tion to ad­dress this is­sue. He said doc­u­ments such as pass­ports or birth cer­tifi­cates, can be pro­duced by brib­ing Gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials in this part of the world – par­tic­u­larly in South Asia.

“There have been in­stances where it was re­ported that the of­fi­cers of the Sri Lankan law en­force­ment sys­tem ac­cepted bribes from agents in ex­change for al­low­ing their ves­sels to cross mar­itime bor­ders. We, as a Gov­ern­ment, have adopted var­i­ous mea­sures to counter mi­grant smug­gling in Sri Lanka. While strength­en­ing our de­fense ap­pa­ra­tus and the law en­force­ment sys­tem, we also work closely with our in­ter­na­tional part­ners in find­ing ways to counter this prob­lem in a sus­tain­able man­ner,” the min­is­ter said.

He said that Sri Lanka had en­tered into a Mem­o­ran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing with Aus­tralia to counter hu­man smug­gling, en­abling even closer co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries in this re­gard.

“The MOU is aimed at fa­cil­i­tat­ing the re­turn to Sri Lanka of peo­ple who en­tered Aus­tralia il­le­gally. It also paves the way for en­hanced in­for­ma­tion shar­ing on meth­ods of track­ing, in­ter­cept­ing and in­ves­ti­gat­ing peo­ple smug­glers. We are in the process of in­tro­duc­ing nec­es­sary re­vi­sions and changes, hav­ing un­der­stood the grav­ity and the so­cial im­pact of the prob­lem,” the min­is­ter said.

There have been in­stances where it was re­ported that the of­fi­cers of the Sri Lankan law en­force­ment sys­tem ac­cepted bribes from agents in ex­change for al­low­ing their ves­sels to cross mar­itime bor­ders

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