Country Reports on Terrorism 2016 - Terrorist Safe Havens: The Sulu/Sulawesi Seas Littoral

The number of islands and maritime traffic in the Sulawesi Sea and the Sulu Archipelago make it a difficult region to secure. Traditional smuggling and piracy groups supported terrorist networks, including the movement of personnel, equipment, and funds. Kidnapping-for-ransom remained an ongoing threat and a source of funding for terrorist networks in the region.

Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines have made concerted new efforts to control their shared maritime boundaries. In 2016, the three countries signed a trilateral agreement that envisions joint air and maritime patrols, information sharing, and standard operating procedures for "hot pursuit" of criminal and terrorist elements actively conducting attacks.

Southeast Asia serves as a global trade hub, with some of the highest volume transit and transshipment ports in the world. Lack of political will, incomplete legal and regulatory frameworks, weak strategic trade controls, inadequate law enforcement and security capabilities, and emerging and re-emerging infectious disease and burgeoning bioscience capacity, make Southeast Asia an area of concern for weapons of mass destruction proliferation and transit. Malaysia, the Philippines, and Singapore are the only countries in the region with strategic trade control laws, and countries across Southeast Asia struggle with controls over dual-use items, as well as end-use or "catch-all" provisions. Assisting countries in the region to develop strong laws that meet international standards and helping to build effective targeting and risk management systems are major goals of the Department of State's Export Control and Related Border Security program over the next few years.


This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.