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