Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 22 November 2017, 14:00 NZDT
  • Still current at: 11 December 2018

Do not travel

Do not travel to South Sudan due to ongoing armed conflict, civil unrest and violent crime. 

New Zealanders currently in South Sudan are advised to depart as soon as it is safe to do so. 

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Armed Conflict/Civil Unrest
Armed conflict between government and various opposition forces continues throughout South Sudan. While fighting in Juba has calmed the security situation is still volatile. A ceasefire has been in effect since 11 July 2016, however the situation remains tense and there is the possibility for further violence.

Inter-tribal clashes occurr throughout the country and have led to a significant loss of life, and there exists a complete absence of rule of law across the country. Heavy fighting continues to occur sporadically. Jonglei, Unity and Upper Nile states, where the conflict and military operations are focused, are particularly dangerous however tensions are high throughout the country and the potential for violence exists elsewhere.

Areas within 40 kilometres of South Sudan’s northern border with Sudan are also particularly dangerous and vulnerable to armed incursions and violence.  Parts of the border remain disputed and military forces are deployed in these areas.

Areas bordering Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, the Central African Republic, and Uganda are dangerous. Armed militia groups operate in the above border areas of South Sudan. These groups pose a serious danger to your safety.

We recommend you avoid all protests, demonstrations and large public gatherings as they have the potential to turn violent with little warning.

Violent Crime
Violent crime, including kidnapping, armed robbery, car-jacking, and sexual assault is a significant problem throughout South Sudan, both in urban and rural areas. The government has limited capacity to deter crime and maintain law and order outside the capital city of Juba.  Banditry and lawlessness is an issue in rural areas.

A number of armed militia groups are active in South Sudan’s border areas and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), currently based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic, has in the past been active in western regions of South Sudan.

New Zealanders in South Sudan should exercise a very high degree of personal security awareness at all times.  No resistance should be given if you are the victim of an armed robbery or carjacking as this could lead to an escalation in violence. For security reasons we recommend against travelling alone or to isolated areas.

There is a risk from landmines, which are reportedly present throughout South Sudan, including in Juba.  We advise you not to stray off well-used public roads and paths.

General Travel Advice
As there is no New Zealand diplomatic presence in South Sudan, the ability of the government to assist New Zealand citizens is severely limited.  

We advise New Zealanders in South Sudan to be vigilant and take appropriate precautions to ensure their safety. You should have a contingency plan in place for departure, monitor developments closely through the media and other local information sources. As a precautionary measure, we recommend ensuring adequate supplies of food, water, fuel, cash and essential medications are always on hand and travel documents are kept up to date.

New Zealanders travelling or living in South Sudan should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.  You should check that your travel insurance policy covers travel to South Sudan – exclusions may well apply. Only very limited medical facilities are available in South Sudan. 

New Zealanders who decide to live or travel in South Sudan against our advice are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

See our regional advice for Africa

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