East Timor Travel Warning - Tips
East Timor Travel
May 11, 2007
This Travel Warning is being updated to
inform Americans of heightened security concerns in East Timor and to warn
American citizens to defer travel to East Timor at this time. Americans
currently in East Timor should evaluate carefully their safety and security in
light of this Travel Warning. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued on
March 2, 2007.
The Department of State advises U.S.
citizens of the continued heightened security concerns in East Timor and warns
them to defer travel to East Timor at this time. Americans currently in
East Timor should carefully evaluate their safety and security in light of the
unstable situation and potential for violent civil unrest. On February 27,
the Government of Indonesia temporarily closed its border with East Timor while
the International Stabilization Force (ISF) conducted operations against
dissident military leader Alfredo Reinado. The Government of Indonesia,
acting in coordination with the Government of East Timor, has intermittently
closed the border during the presidential election period and is expected to do
so again until the conclusion of the June 30 parliamentary elections. The
Government of Australia has advised its citizens against travel to East Timor,
and warns that Australians and Australian interests may be specifically
targeted. Attackers could indiscriminately target foreigners, including
Americans. The Australian travel advice can be viewed at http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/East_Timor
After the collapse of civil order in April
and May 2006, international troops and police arrived. The security
situation improved, but serious security concerns remain:
Indiscriminate communal violence continues throughout the country.
Gang-related violence occurs often in Dili, and Americans risk intentional or
inadvertent injury. Stone-throwing attacks on vehicles are frequent, and
have affected American citizens on several occasions.
Several areas of Dili have become sites of chronic security incidents,
particularly the areas around the camps for internally displaced people
(IDPs). Americans are advised to avoid these areas and check with the
U.S. Embassy regarding other areas of concern.
More public demonstrations are possible because of East Timor’s 2007
presidential and parliamentary elections.
Sexual assaults against foreign nationals have occurred and may increase
in the current environment. Female travelers are advised to exercise
particular caution and to avoid travel alone on foot or in taxis, especially
at night and in unfamiliar or isolated areas.
Criminals continue to operate illegal checkpoints in some areas of Dili,
frequently stopping taxis and minibuses in order to extort money from drivers
and passengers; in some cases, East Timorese are identified for more violent
targeting. American citizens are advised against using taxis or
minibuses for transportation.
The international airport in Dili continues to operate normally, but
Americans who travel to East Timor despite this Travel Warning should check
the status of flights and security in the area prior to commencing travel.
U.S. citizens in East Timor should
exercise extreme caution and maintain a high level of security awareness while
moving about in Dili; be alert to the potential for violence; and avoid
demonstrations, large gatherings, and areas where disturbances have
occurred. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn
confrontational and escalate into violence.
Americans in East Timor should immediately
register at the Embassy and obtain all recent messages sent to the American
community in East Timor. The U.S. Embassy in Dili can be reached at 670
332-4684 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. local time or the duty officer
outside business hours at 670-723-0949. The U.S. Embassy is located on
Avenida de Portugal in the Pantai Kelapa area. U.S. citizens living in or
traveling to East Timor can also register through the State Department's travel
registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov
For the latest security information,
Americans living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's
Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov/
, where the current
Worldwide Cautions, Public Announcements, and Travel Warnings can be
found. Travelers should also consult the Department of State's latest
Consular information Sheet for East Timor. Up-to-date information on
security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United
States and Canada. Callers outside of the United States and Canada may
call a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available
from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except on U.S.
http://travel.state.gov/travel_warnings.html for State Department Travel