is an annual report produced in conjunction with the Regional Security Office
at the U.S. Embassy in Paramaribo. OSAC encourages travelers to use
this report to gain baseline knowledge of security conditions in Suriname.
For more in-depth information, review OSAC’s Suriname
country page for original OSAC reporting, consular messages, and contact
information, some of which may be available only to private-sector
representatives with an OSAC password.
The current U.S. Department of State Travel
Advisory at the date of this report’s publication assesses Suriname at Level 1, indicating travelers should
exercise normal precautions. Review OSAC’s report, Understanding the Consular Travel Advisory System.
Overall Crime and
Limited law enforcement presence in Suriname’s interior and border
regions, gaps in training, and inadequate resources (to include lack of state-owned
aircraft and an insufficient number of patrol vessels) limit the government’s
capacity to fully control immigration and illicit activity on much of its
territory. Residential crime poses an ongoing challenge for law enforcement in
U.S. Department of State has assessed Paramaribo as being a HIGH-threat location for crime directed
at or affecting official U.S. government interests. Government
of Suriname statistics indicated a modest decrease in personal and property
crime in 2019, while open-source reporting indicated a steady increase in
violent crime since 2018. Media also reported an increased
number of crimes involving firearms over the past year, with perpetrators more
frequently using deadly force against victims resisting robbery. In most
street crimes, perpetrators targeted lone individuals for backpacks or purses, cell
phones, jewelry (particularly necklaces), or sums of cash. In
many instances, suspects
fled on motorbike, moped, or bicycle, and typically evaded capture by police.
tourist areas, to include major international hotels, visitors are occasionally
targets of crimes of opportunity. In February 2019, a
masked assailant robbed an individual at gunpoint in front of a prominent hotel
in Paramaribo with the help of accomplices. A recent trend has criminals select a victim, discreetly
slash a tire on the victim’s vehicle, follow the target a distance on the road
until the tire runs flat, and then approach the victim with an offer of assistance
before committing an armed robbery. Review OSAC’s report, All That You Should
areas of Paramaribo experience less violent crime than others, home burglary
remains an issue in all districts. Criminals may move without restriction into
and out of most neighborhoods, to include those where expatriates live, despite
the presence of neighborhood security guard services. Assailants have physically
assaulted or robbed guards attempting to deny subjects access to neighborhoods and
residences. Criminals typically employ firearms or other weapons such as
knives, machetes, or axes when conducting residential crimes. It is difficult to
obtain a firearms permit (or an illegal weapon) in Suriname, but police report
that people frequently purchase illegal firearms in neighboring French Guiana,
then transport them over the border. There have been several cases reported of
firearms being stolen from police officers’ residences or vehicles. Armed
robberies frequently involve illegal or stolen weapons.
private security companies operating in Paramaribo specialize in mobile patrols
by uniformed guards with marked vehicles or bicycles. Neighborhoods and local
businesses often share the costs of services. Static security guard posts are less
common than neighborhood patrols, with only some residences employing 24/7 fixed-position
guard services. Cost remains the primary consideration in the decision to
employ residential security guards, and the most professional services are
generally only affordable to large institutions and corporations or wealthy
individual clients. Review OSAC’s reports, Hotels: The Inns and
Outs and Considerations for
crime is not a factor in incidents of armed robbery, theft, or burglary in Paramaribo.
However, well-armed regional/transnational gangs engage
in criminal threats against industrial sites in Suriname’s interior, with small-scale
gold miners particularly at risk. Accounts of gang activity in mining areas
near the French Guiana border surface periodically in the media and by way of independent
after dark in Paramaribo’s downtown-waterfront area and the Palmentuin (Palm Garden). Attempted thefts,
robberies, and pickpocketing incidents have also occurred at the Combe Markt complex and around the
venturing into Suriname’s interior should travel with a seasoned guide and backup
communications. Services offered through major hotels and tourist agencies are generally
reliable. There have been reports of tourists robbed while traveling in the
countryside, along with occasional reports of armed bandits on rural roads. Criminals
attacked and robbed a group of Dutch tourists in April 2018 on the road to
Langatabiki, in Sipaliwini district. In June 2018, criminals
used a pickup truck in Para district to cut off an approaching vehicle carrying
employees of a gold-mining company, demanding gold, and opening fire on the
passengers, leaving one fatally wounded. In January 2019, five armed
robbers overpowered security guards at a vacation site in Brokopondo district,
stealing cash from a safe. In a December 2019 incident, criminals robbed a
group of Dutch tourists at gunpoint while attempting to cross by boat from
French Guiana to Suriname.
Credit cards are not in wide acceptance outside the major hotels
and upscale restaurants. While several banks accept U.S. ATM cards, avoid using
debit and credit cards because of identity theft concerns. Always keep your
debit or credit card in your sight while it is processing. Consider using prepaid
credit cards with limited funds when traveling. You can exchange currency at
banks, hotels, and official exchange houses (cambios). Exchanging money
outside of these locations is illegal and can be dangerous. Review OSAC’s
reports, The Overseas Traveler’s
Guide to ATM Skimmers & Fraud and Taking Credit.
Review OSAC’s reports, Cybersecurity Basics,
Best Practices for Maximizing
Security on Public Wi-Fi, Traveling with Mobile
Devices: Trends & Best Practices, and Satellite Phones:
Critical or Contraband?
Road Safety and Road Conditions
accidents are a considerable risk. In addition to driving on the left side,
road conditions differ substantially from those in most U.S. cities. Drivers
should be very cognizant of mopeds, scooters, and motorcycles especially when
making left turns. According to local law, two-wheeled vehicles have the
right-of-way and are equivalent to pedestrians.
sporadically enforce local traffic laws. Driving while talking on a cell phone
is illegal and may attract more stringent enforcement. On the other hand,
drivers might openly consume alcohol from labeled containers, particularly
during the holidays, without police enforcement. The government installed several
hundred new security cameras around the city following the December 2018 launch
of Paramaribo’s Safe City Project. The digital network, monitored centrally from
a command center in Wanica district, consists of police, firefighters, and
national security officers. Strategically positioned throughout Paramaribo, the
cameras employ license plate-reader technology and infrared video capability.
potholes are common, especially during the rainy season. Roads often do not contain
traffic lines. Many main roads do not have sidewalks, forcing pedestrians,
motorcycles, and bicycles to share the same space. Many roads flood, and cars
with low clearance may have problems. The East-West Highway stretches from
Nieuw Nickerie in the west to Albina in the east; parts lack maintenance, and sinkholes
develop along the road during the rainy season. Watch for slow-moving traffic
or animals. Exercise caution at night due to poor lighting and sharp road turns
without adequate warning signs. There are few service stations along the road,
and Western-style rest stops are non-existent. Check with the police station in
Albina for the latest safety information regarding travel between Paramaribo
and Albina. Roads in the interior are sporadically maintained dirt roads
passing through sparsely populated rain forest. Bridges are in poor condition.
Conditions deteriorate rapidly during the rainy season. There are no lights,
service stations, or emergency call boxes along the roads.
with your hotel or tour provider regarding road conditions. For minor vehicle
accidents, when there is only material damage and the
vehicles can move on their own without great effort, both
parties must fill out insurance forms and take photos of the scene and damages. If involved in a serious motor vehicle accident, drivers must
leave the vehicle exactly where the accident occurred and stay on-scene until
the police arrive to make a report. Police will
respond to collisions in which vehicles are seriously damaged and cannot move,
as well as in cases of grievous bodily harm, driving without a driver’s
license, or driving under the influence of alcohol or intoxicants. Wait
time depends on the distance from the nearest police precinct, but wait times in
Paramaribo vary from 15-30 minutes, according to insurance officials. If the driver
leaves the scene before police arrive and fails to report to the police within
4 hours, police may charge them with leaving the scene of an accident and fault
them with criminal intent.
Review OSAC’s reports, Road Safety Abroad,
Driving Overseas: Best
Practices, and Evasive Driving
Techniques; and read the State Department’s webpage on driving
and road safety abroad.
Public Transportation Conditions
unfamiliar with Suriname should carefully consider the risks of using public
transportation, such as minibuses, especially outside Paramaribo. Serious
speeding accidents often involving buses or vans are common along the three
highways leading out of Paramaribo. Reputable taxis services are reliable
for travel to the international airport and between towns. Not all taxis are
clearly marked, and some may not have a meter. Verify the price or meter before
entering the taxi. Review OSAC’s report, Security In Transit:
Airplanes, Public Transport, and Overnights.
The U.S. Embassy
prohibits its employees from using Fly All Ways for official travel due to
safety concerns. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed
the government of Suriname’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance
with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards
for oversight of Suriname’s air carrier operations.
U.S. Department of State has assessed Paramaribo as being a MEDIUM-threat location for terrorism
directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests.
reported the 2017 arrest by Surinamese law enforcement of two individuals for
ties with ISIS. The suspects attended a hearing in November 2018, and authorities
released one of the suspects in May 2019. In June 2019, the other suspect received a two-year sentence
for links to ISIS. Authorities released him immediately,
having already spent two years in custody, and deported him to the Netherlands,
where authorities immediately arrested him on unrelated charges. The other
suspect, his brother, departed for the Netherlands voluntarily in July 2019
declared both persona non grata
on grounds of national security. The Ministry of Justice and Police permanently
banned both suspects from reentering the country.
There are no
known indigenous terrorist groups operating in Suriname. As a non-aligned
country, Suriname is not the target of any known radical groups.
have been criminal threats against U.S. private-sector organizations in
Suriname, none were terror related.
Religious, and Ethnic Violence
U.S. Department of State has assessed Paramaribo as being a LOW-threat location for political
violence directed at or affecting official U.S. government interests. Protests
organized by pro and anti-government groups as well as labor unions occur
occasionally, and are generally neither disruptive nor well-attended. However,
demonstrations are increasing in both frequency and number as the May 2020
national elections approach. In January 2020, a demonstration in support of the
President of Suriname attracted at least 3,000 participants, and an opposition
rally earlier in the month also attracted several thousand supporters, according
to media reports. While these are significant numbers for Suriname, no injuries
to persons or damages to property occurred in the two incidents. Review OSAC’s
report, Surviving a Protest.
ethnic violence in Paramaribo is rare. Surinamers are known to express pride in
national socio-cultural and confessional harmony.
regularly in Paramaribo during the rainy seasons (May-August,
November-February). Driving can be difficult or dangerous in some areas, and
Paramaribo’s canals occasionally flood past street-level, leaving some drivers unable
to determine where the road ends and canals begin. Due to poor drainage, floodwater
can last several days.
Over 80% of
the country is uninhabited rainforest. Hazards such as toxic flora, venomous
fauna, vector-borne diseases, and gun traps, paired with insufficient medical
infrastructure and challenging extraction/rescue conditions increase the risk
of travel in the interior.
Critical Infrastructure Concerns
concern among some media professionals that the government may monitor telecommunications
and personal movement. State-owned entities administer the major
telecommunications systems. Telephone and internet service can be problematic,
especially during periods of heavy rain. Parts of the country’s interior do not
have reliable cell phone reception.
Review the State Department’s
webpage on security for female travelers.
There are no legal restrictions on
same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Suriname. Review
the State Department’s webpage on security for LGBTI+ travelers.
Sidewalks throughout Suriname do
not accommodate persons with disabilities adequately. Taxis and other public
transportation do not provide proper assistance to individuals with
disabilities. Review the State Department’s webpage on security for travelers with disabilities.
The Department of
State’s 2019 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report recognizes
Suriname as a transit zone for cocaine en route primarily to Europe and Africa.
There are reported sporadic instances of violence, to
include murders and drive-by shootings, between associates of competing drug
trafficking syndicates. Drug-trafficking
activity and violence associated with criminal enterprises engaged in illegal
gold mining also increase risks in the field.
not a common occurrence. Of the instances known, many are related to personal
or business conflicts. No kidnappings involving non-Surinamese nationals in
Suriname have been reported to the U.S. Embassy. Review OSAC’s
report, Kidnapping: The Basics.
emergency line in Suriname is 115. Operators may not speak English. Police
officials frequently cite lack of basic equipment and resources, shortage of
trained staff, and low morale as reasons for highly inconsistent emergency response
times and the high percentage of unsolved crimes in Suriname. Police response particularly
during nighttime hours may be delayed for incidents that do not involve serious
injury, death, or narcotics.
can report crimes in person or over the phone during business hours to any of
the below police stations:
Keizerstraat Station (Central
Paramaribo): Keizerstraat 23, Tel: +597
471-111 / 477-777
Haven Station (Paramaribo South): Havenlaan, Tel: +597 403-101 / 402-535
Station (Paramaribo North): Basitostraat, Tel: +597 451-677 / 451-222
Station: Indira Ghandiweg / Tamanoeastraat, Tel: +597 481-524 / 483-547
Station: Sir Winston Churchillweg, Tel: +597 481-941 / 483-400
Station: Kasabaholoweg, Tel: +597
498-537 / 498-045
Station: Tel: +597
366-785 / 366-116
Zanderij Station : Tel: +597
325-222 / 325-144
Station: Tel: +597 880-4611 / 324-002
Station: Tel: +597 235-122 / 235-123
Station: Tel: +597 231-530 / 231-222
Station: Tel: +597 341-321 / 341-280 (via Suralco)
Albina Station: Tel: +597 342-080 / 342-077
Victims of domestic violence and/or sexual assault can also
contact the Bureau Slachtofferzorg (Victim’s
Assistance Office), Ministry of Justice and Police at Henck Arronstraat 61, phone:
+597 888-7477. Opening hours are Monday-Friday, 0800 to 1430.
three major law enforcement/security entities in Suriname.
is the Suriname Police Corps (KPS), the department responsible for all
traditional policing efforts. The KPS has five branches: (1) the Paramaribo
Region Police cover the city limits of Paramaribo; (2) the Western Region Police
cover Saramacca, Coronie, and Nickerie Districts; (3) the Mid Region Police cover
Para, Wanica, and Brokopondo Districts; (4) the East Region Police cover Commewijne,
Marowijne, and Sipaliwini Districts; and (5) an investigative and special tasks
section takes responsibility for forensics, fraud, and homicide investigations.
Military personnel and prison guards routinely ride in KPS patrol vehicles
throughout Suriname to provide additional support.
second-largest law enforcement/security entity in Suriname is the Military
Police, a branch of the Surinamese Armed Forces that polices all members of the
military and oversees border control/immigration functions.
third-largest law enforcement/security entity is the Directorate of National
Security, responsible for the protection of the President and government
ministers, as well as for coordinating internal security and intelligence
emergency line in Suriname is 115. Operators may not speak English proficiently.
Medical standards, particularly for severe trauma, are below those expected in
the U.S. Medical specialists may not always be available. In general, hospital
facilities are not air conditioned. Find contact information for available
medical services and available air ambulance services on the U.S. Embassy website.
can find prescription and over-the-counter medicines in pharmacies in
Paramaribo, but U.S. brands may not be available, and the quality cannot be
assured. There are frequent prescription medication shortages. You can bring
medications for personal use. Suriname does not maintain a list of illegal
medications. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging
with your doctor’s prescription. Review OSAC’s report, Traveling with
is one public emergency room in Paramaribo and only a small ambulance fleet
with limited first response capabilities. Ambulance dispatchers may be
challenging to reach by phone. Do not rely upon ambulatory services in case of
life-threatening emergencies. Typically, responding police officers will
contact the Academic Hospital Emergency Room to send an ambulance, which may
take a significant amount of time, depending on the location of the call. Emergency
medical care outside Paramaribo is limited and is virtually non-existent in the
interior of the country.
generally require up-front payment in cash, up to the total of all anticipated
charges, prior to services or treatment. Some international firms operating in Suriname
provide their employees medical support, to include medical evacuation (medevac)
services in case of serious vehicle accidents outside the city. Organize
medevac and standard insurance plans in advance of travel. The U.S. Department
of State strongly recommends purchasing international health insurance before
traveling internationally. Review the State Department’s webpage on insurance
have asked some travelers to show proof of yellow fever vaccination before allowing
them to enter Suriname.
fever is prevalent nationwide. Malaria is sporadic in the interior, but there
is no malaria in Paramaribo. In recent years, outbreaks of Zika
and Chikungunya have also occurred in Suriname.
CDC offers additional information on vaccines and health guidance for Suriname.
OSAC’s reports, The Healthy Way,
I’m Drinking What in My
Water?, Shaken: The Don’ts of
Alcohol Abroad, Health 101: How to Prepare for Travel, and
Fire Safety Abroad.
U.S. Embassy Contact
Address: Kristalstraat 165, Paramaribo
Business Hours: Monday-Friday, 0730
U.S. Embassy Operator: +597 556-700
Regional Security Office: extension 2066
American Citizen Services (emergencies only): extension
U.S. Embassy Duty Officer (emergencies only –
after hours): +597 710-1112
OSAC Country Council
Suriname Country Council ratified its charter in 2019. The U.S. Embassy’s Regional
Security Officer serves as the public sector co-chair in partnership with a
private sector co-chair. The Assistant Regional Security Officer serves as the Country
Council administrator. The Regional Security Office routinely meets with U.S.
private-sector security directors and business leaders in Suriname. The U.S.
Embassy also maintains relationships with members of the American business
community through the Economic Section, the Business and Educational Resource
Center (BERC), the Surinamese Chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce
(AmCham), and the Rotary Clubs of Suriname. U.S. organizations should contact the Regional Security Office or OSAC’s Western Hemisphere team for specific
inquiries concerning the local security situation.
you travel, consider the following resources:
OSAC Risk Matrix
OSAC Travelers Toolkit
Department Traveler’s Checklist
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program