Minister Julie Bishop (pictured) has reissued the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s kidnapping threat bulletin on locations around the world where there is a serious risk of kidnappings.
The ‘Kidnapping Threat Worldwide’ Bulletin identifies Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, eastern Malaysia (Sabah), southern Philippines, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and parts of North and West Africa as being areas of particular concern. It also advises Australian travellers that some recent kidnappings have been ideologically motivated, resulting in hostages being killed for propaganda purposes.
Journalists and humanitarian workers are especially at risk owing to the nature of their work.
The Minister said: ‘I reiterate the Government’s long-standing policy to not make payments or concessions to kidnappers so as not to increase the risk to other Australians of further kidnappings.
‘The Government provides Australian travellers in difficulty overseas with consular assistance, in line with the Consular Services Charter. However, the Government may be severely limited in its ability to assist in areas where kidnapping is a particular threat, due to the inherent risks in these locations.
‘I underline that, having made a decision to enter a high-risk zone, it is the responsibility of the individual and their employer to undertake their own security assessment and implement their own risk management plan. The Australian Government is not able to provide security protection.
‘Australians travelling to areas where kidnapping is a particular threat should subscribe to receive updates to the Department’s country-specific travel advisories on www.smartraveller.gov.au, seek professional security advice and have effective personal security measures in place.
‘In addition, regardless of the destination, I encourage Australians to separately register their travel on the Smartraveller website and consider appropriate insurance options.’