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MFAT travel advice for Indonesia: upgrade

MFAT travel advice for Indonesia: upgrade Sunday 12 September

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has this evening upgraded its travel advice for Indonesia. We now recommend against all non-essential travel to Indonesia.

The upgrade reflects uncertainties in the aftermath of the 9 September bombing.

Previously we were advising travellers to exercise a high level of security awareness when travelling in Indonesia .

This travel advice has been reviewed and reissued on Sunday 12 September 2004.

This advice applies throughout Indonesia without exception

The New Zealand Government reiterates that terrorist groups are active in Indonesia and that further bombings and other forms of attack against Western and Indonesian Government interests could occur at any time.

Jakarta and other cities in Java have been the regular target of bombings in the last few years. In 2003 there were a series of bomb attacks in Jakarta with targets including the international airport, parliament buildings and the Marriott Hotel. A major bomb explosion outside the Australian Embassy on 9 September killed a number of people, injured many more and caused considerable damage. Further attacks against Indonesia Government targets and Western interests, particularly in Jakarta, are possible.

In light of uncertainties about security in the aftermath of the Embassy bombing, we now recommend against non-essential travel to Indonesia until further notice.

New Zealanders who do travel to Indonesia should observe a high level of security awareness in public, choose their destinations and activities carefully, avoid places where westerners are known to gather such as hotels, clubs, bars, shopping malls, tourist resorts and places of worship, and consider carefully the need for any travel within Indonesia. They should treat very seriously any threats, including bomb threats that may be made against them or the premises they occupy. They should also note that there may be threats against buildings and symbols of the Government of Indonesia, so these and areas of cultural or historical significance should also be avoided.

Demonstrations are a feature of Indonesian life, especially in Jakarta. With national elections spanning the period March-September, they are likely to be more prevalent this year. Most demonstrations pass without incident, but we advise New Zealanders to avoid demonstrations and large crowds.

We continue to recommend against travel to the following provinces of Indonesia.

Civil emergency in effect. Security situation remains uncertain. We advise against all travel. Resident New Zealanders should depart.
(West) Papua (formerly Irian Jaya)
We advise against all travel. Risk of kidnapping. Permits are required for all travel to Papua, except Jayapura and Biak.
We advise against all travel. Violence continues.
West Timor
We advise against all travel to the Belu district, including the border area.
Maluku Province
We advise against all travel.
We offer the following additional comments on particular regions.

We advise against all travel to Aceh, on the northern tip of Sumatra. The Indonesian Government replaced martial law in Aceh with a state of civil emergency in May. The security situation remains uncertain. New Zealanders in Aceh should leave.

In (West) Papua the security situation remains unpredictable and there is a risk of kidnapping. We advise against all travel to (West) Papua. Permits are required for all travel to Papua, except Jayapura and Biak.

We advise against all travel to Sulawesi. The Abu Sayyaf terrorist group’s practice of kidnapping foreigners in the south western Philippines poses a risk to foreigners in areas closest to the Philippines, such as North Sulawesi, and especially its outlying islands. There is a history of sectarian clashes in Poso and neighbouring areas in Central Sulawesi. Tensions flared again in October and November 2003 with at least 19 fatalities. Makassar (Ujung Pandang), the capital of South Sulawesi, and Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi, have been the scenes of bombings. Threats against Westerners and western interests remain high.

The situation in West Timor remains unpredictable, particularly in areas near the refugee camps and the border region with Timor Leste (East Timor). New Zealanders are advised not to travel to the Belu district, including the border area.

In April 2004 long simmering inter-religious tensions in Maluku province escalated with serious violence in Ambon. Around 40 persons were killed. The Indonesian army was deployed to the region to restore order. The situation in Maluku and North Maluku remains unsettled.

There was serious inter-communal violence in Central Kalimantan province on the island of Borneo in 2001. Similar clashes have occurred in West Kalimantan. The Abu Sayyaf terrorist group’s practice of kidnapping foreigners in the southwestern Philippines, near Indonesia, poses a risk to foreigners in the border regions of East Kalimantan.

Entry Requirements

Since 1 February 2004, a new Indonesian government policy has required New Zealanders travelling to Indonesia as tourists either to obtain a visa from an Indonesian diplomatic post before they travel, or to purchase one on arrival at one of the main air or seaports. A three day visa costs US$10 and a 30 day visa costs US$25. Payment must be made in US dollars on arrival. It is recommended that travellers have the exact US dollars cash available as not all entry points have full bank facilities in place. The visas are non-extendable and cannot be converted to any other type of stay permit. If you are in any doubt about your situation, or if you are travelling for purposes other than tourism, you should check with an Indonesian Embassy or Consulate.

New Zealanders resident in or travelling to Indonesia should have comprehensive medical insurance policies that include provision for medical evacuation by air, as many parts of Indonesia do not have high-quality medical facilities. Good quality treatment is often expensive by New Zealand standards. New Zealanders should also keep in mind that many insurance policies have terrorism exclusion clauses.
• New Zealanders in Indonesia are encouraged to record their details with:

• The New Zealand Embassy
BRI II Building, 23rd floor Jln, Jend Sudirman Kav. 44-46
(PO Box 2349 JKT 10024), Jakarta 10210, Indonesia.

Tel: (+ 62 21) 570 9460 Fax: (+ 62 21) 570 9457 Email: nzembjak@cbn.net.id

• Please include the following information :

• full names of individuals and accompanying dependents

• New Zealand passport number(s)

• contact details whilst in Indonesia

• departure dates and details

• contact information for a family member or friend in New Zealand

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