Why are Pacific nations silent about Nauru?


The director of the Pasifika Centre at Massey University, Malakai Koloamatangi, said new curbs on free speech were just the latest in a series of draconian legal steps Nauru had taken.

Dr Koloamatangi said in the absence of criticism from Australia, whose offshore detainees are held on Nauru, New Zealand, the Forum and the UN should speak out.

He said the Forum’s Biketawa Declaration expected members to abide by the rule of law, good governance, transparency and accountability.

“One would have to say that Nauru is not abiding by those values, and something has to be done,” Dr Koloamatangi said.

“Now if Australia is not doing it, then I would think that New Zealand is the next in line, plus the Forum, should be exploring options about how to engage with Nauru.”

The Refugee Action Coalition’s Ian Rintoul hopes Pacific Islands Forum Leaders will draw attention to the plight of refugees when the Pacific Forum leaders meet there in September.

“It is a rare opportunity for international media to have access to Nauru,” he said.

About 930 people including about 140 children were being held in the Detention Centre.

“It’s an issue of Australia and the way in which Australia has tried to draw places like Papua New Guinea and Nauru into undermining the refugee convention,” Rintoul said.

He said the situation should be a cause of some concern for the whole of the Pacific and Asia-Pacific region.

“So we are hoping it does get an airing,”


Additional reading

News category: Asia Pacific.

Tags: , ,