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Reviewed: 14 September 2012, 17:00 NZDT
Still current at: 23 May 2013
There is some risk to your security in Timor-Leste due to the fragile security situation and the possibility of civil unrest and we advise a high degree of caution.
Civil unrest/political tension
Timor-Leste had a turbulent history leading up to its independence from Indonesia in 2002. Since independence there have been outbreaks of civil unrest.
Legal responsibility for policing in Timor-Leste was handed over from the United Nations Police (UNPOL) to the Timor-Leste National Police (PNTL) in 2011. While UNPOL maintains a significant presence in Timor-Leste, providing backup and support to the PNTL, PNTL are primarily responsible for policing matters. Additional security is provided by the New Zealand and Australian (Defence) International Stabilisation force (ISF).
New Zealanders are advised to exercise a high degree of caution in the areas of Dili, Baucau and Viqueque, particularly while driving and after dark. New Zealanders in Timor-Leste are also advised to regularly monitor the media and local information sources to keep up to date on developments. New Zealanders are further advised to avoid all rallies, protests and demonstrations, as they have the potential to turn violent.
Crime, including assault and attacks on vehicles, continues to be an issue in Timor-Leste. Foreigners may be targeted for robbery because of their perceived wealth. Harassment of and violence against women (including expatriates) has been reported.
New Zealanders in Timor-Leste should exercise a high degree of personal security awareness at all times. We advise against travelling alone and to isolated areas for security reasons. Poor road quality and a rapidly increasing number of cars on the roads, especially in Dili, makes driving hazardous and accidents are frequent.
There is some danger in rural areas from unexploded ordnance from World War Two and the Indonesian occupation and we advise travellers not to stray off well-used roads and paths.
Piracy is a problem in South East Asian waters. Mariners are advised to take appropriate precautionary measures in these waters. For more information view the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy report.
General travel advice
Medical services in Timor-Leste are very limited and New Zealanders travelling or resident in Timor-Leste should have comprehensive medical and travel insurance policies in place that include provision for medical evacuation by air.
New Zealanders travelling or resident in Timor-Leste are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
For other countries' travel advice
Contact details are
Street Address Rua Geremais, Motael, Dili, Timor-Leste
Telephone +670 331 0087 Facsimile +670 332 4982
Office Hours Mon – Fri 9:00am – 11:00am; 2:00pm - 4:00pm
New Zealand Embassy Duty Officer telephone +670 732 1015