2002 Bureau of Democracy by 5Y5U7F0

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                                                    Nauru 2002
                                                    D.O.S. Country Report
                                                    on Human Rights Practices


Nauru
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2002
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
U.S. Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520
March 31, 2003
   [1] The Republic of Nauru adopted a modified form of parliamentary
democracy on gaining independence in 1968. The country is governed by a
unicameral Parliament. The Parliament is elected at least triennially and
consists of 18 members from 14 constituencies. It elects the President, who
is both Chief of State and Head of Government, from among its members.
The most recent parliamentary elections, held in 2000, were considered free
and fair; Parliament elected a new president in April 2001. The judiciary is
independent.

   [2] There are no armed forces, although there is a small police force, with
fewer than 100 members, under civilian control.

   [3] The population is approximately 10,500. The economy depends
almost entirely on mining of phosphate deposits. The government-owned
Nauru Phosphate Corporation (NPC) controls the mining industry, and a
large percentage of its earnings were placed in long-term investments meant
to provide national revenue after the phosphate reserves were exhausted.
However, financial mismanagement and corruption has led to a shortage of
basic goods and utilities and some domestic unrest. During the year,
opposition party Naoero Amo (Nauru First) pushed actively for reform of
the NPC.




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   [4] Media reports indicated that substantial offshore deposits were
associated with the country's banking facilities. The Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development financial action task force
investigated allegations of money laundering and concluded that new
banking laws passed in December 2001 did not address adequately the
deficiencies in the country's licensing, regulation, and supervision of its
offshore banking sector. The Government continued to sell passports openly.

   [5] The Government generally respected the human rights of its citizens,
and the law and judiciary provide effective means of dealing with individual
instances of abuse. However, some human rights advocates expressed
concerns about poor living conditions and alleged arbitrary detention of
asylum seekers held in the country. The country has a refugee processing
and detention center, funded by the Government of Australia, that held
approximately 700 asylum seekers at year's end. Most were intercepted at
sea en route to Australia; Australian immigration officials continued to
process their asylum claims in coordination with the U.N. High
Commissioner for Refugees. Societal pressures limited women's economic
opportunities. Nauru was invited by the Community of Democracies' (CD)
Convening Group to attend the November 2002 second CD Ministerial
Meeting in Seoul, Republic of Korea, as a participant.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1: Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom
from:

   a. Arbitrary or Unlawful Deprivation of Life

  [6] There were no reports of arbitrary or unlawful deprivation of life
committed by the Government or its agents.

   b. Disappearance

   [7] There were no reports of politically motivated disappearances.


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                                                   Nauru 2002
                                                   D.O.S. Country Report
                                                   on Human Rights Practices

  c. Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment

   [8] The Constitution prohibits such practices, and there were no reports
that government officials employed them.

   [9] The Government attempted to meet international prison standards
within its limited financial means and in accordance with local living
standards. However, prison conditions were basic, and food and sanitation
were limited. There were separate accommodations for pretrial detainees and
convicted prisoners, men and women, and adults and juveniles.

   [10] The country hosted a refugee processing and detention center,
funded by the Government of Australia, that held approximately 700 asylum
seekers at year's end. Most of the detainees were citizens of Afghanistan,
Pakistan, and other South Asian countries, were intercepted at sea en route
to Australia, and sought resettlement in Australia or another developed
country. Australian human rights organizations expressed concern about
conditions at the detention center, including problems with the water quality
and the power supply. Water quality and power supply problems were
common in the country as a whole.

   [11] There were no local human rights groups, and the question of visits
to prisons by human rights observers was not raised. Prison visits by church
groups and family members were permitted.

   d. Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

   [12] The Constitution prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention, and the
Government generally observed these prohibitions. The police may hold a
person for no more than 24 hours without a hearing before a magistrate.




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   [13] In May the Australia-based Catholic Commission for Justice,
Development and Peace asserted that the detention of asylum seekers in the
country was not being handled in accordance with the Constitution of Nauru,
since these individuals had been detained without first being brought before
a court for a hearing. The Government had not responded to these assertions
by year's end.

  [14] The Constitution and law do not prohibit forced exile; however, the
Government did not use it.

   e. Denial of Fair Public Trial

    [15] The judiciary is independent, and constitutional provisions for both a
fair hearing and a public trial generally were respected.

   [16] The Supreme Court is the highest court when addressing
constitutional issues; it is presided over by the Chief Justice of Nauru. The
Appellate Court of Nauru, composed of two judges, hears appeals of
Supreme Court decisions on other matters. Parliament cannot overturn court
decisions. Under the Appeals Act, cases may be reviewed by the High Court
of Australia on Criminal and Civil Actions, but this rarely was done. A
Resident Magistrate, who is also the Registrar of the Supreme Court,
presides over the District Court. The Resident Magistrate also presides over
the Family Court as Chairman of a three-member panel. There are two other
quasi-courts established under the Constitution, the Public Service Appeal
Board and the Police Appeal Board. The Chief Justice of Nauru presides
over both as chairman, with two members for each board.

   [17] Defendants may have legal counsel, and a representative for the
defense is appointed when required "in the interest of justice." However,
traditional reconciliation mechanisms were used in many cases rather than
the formal legal process--usually by choice but sometimes under communal
rather than governmental pressure. Contract workers from Kiribati and
Tuvalu working in the mining sector did not have recourse to effective
communal assistance, and were disadvantaged in complaints against


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citizens. There were only three trained lawyers in the country, and many
persons were represented in court by "pleaders," trained paralegals certified
by the Government (see: Sections 6.a. and 6.b.).

   [18] There were no reports of political prisoners.

  f. Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or
Correspondence

   [19] The Constitution generally prohibits such actions, and the
Government generally respected these prohibitions in practice. Searches not
sanctioned by court order were prohibited, and there was no surveillance of
individuals or of private communications. Citizenship and inheritance rights
are traced through the female line. Marriage between women and foreign
males may draw social censure. The law extends the right of citizenship to
both male and female spouses of citizens, provided that marital and
residency requirements are met.

Section 2: Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

   a. Freedom of Speech and Press

   [20] The Constitution provides for freedom of speech and of the press,
and the Government generally respected these rights in practice. An
independent press, an effective judiciary, and a functioning democratic
political system combine to ensure freedom of speech and of the press,
including academic freedom.

   [21] The country had no regular print media. Occasional publications
included the government bulletin. A newsletter called The Visionary was
published sporadically by the opposition party Naoero Amo, and provided
an independent and critical view of the Government. It was particularly
vocal regarding economic crises during the year. In December 2001,
Presidential Counsel David Adeang and Senior Medical Officer Dr. Kieren
Keke (both members of Naoero Amo) were suspended from and later
resigned their government positions following publication in The Visionary

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of their comments criticizing the Government's policy toward asylum
seekers. Adeang later became a Member of Parliament. The sole radio
station was owned and operated by the Government; it broadcasts Radio
Australia and British Broadcasting Corporation news reports. Local
television included Nauru TV, which is government owned, as well as a
privately owned sports network.

   [22] The Government was the sole Internet service provider in the
country, but did not monitor or censor content.

   b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

   [23] The Constitution provides for the freedoms of assembly and
association, and the Government generally respected these rights in practice.

   c. Freedom of Religion

    [24] The Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the
Government generally respected this right in practice; however, the
Government restricted this right in some cases. During the year, the
Government prevented Mormons and members of Jehovah's Witnesses from
practicing their religion freely on some occasions, and members of these
religions were subjected to arbitrary licensing and immigration
requirements.

   [25] For a more detailed discussion see the 2002 International Religious
Freedom Report.

  d. Freedom of Movement within the Country, Foreign Travel,
Emigration, and Repatriation

   [26] The law provides for these rights, and the Government generally
respected them in practice.




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                                                     on Human Rights Practices

   [27] Foreign workers had to apply to their employers for permission to
leave during the period of their contracts. They could break the contract and
leave without permission but would lose their positions and often a sizable
bond as a result. In most cases, foreign employees whose contracts were
terminated by their employers had to leave the country within 60 days.

    [28] The Government has not formulated a formal policy regarding
refugees, asylees, or first asylum. However, the Government cooperated
with the office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and
other humanitarian organizations in assisting refugees. The country has
accommodated asylum seekers as a processing center for Australia. These
asylum seekers were held in facilities funded by the Government of
Australia, with day-to-day supervision provided by officials of the
International Office on Migration and local authorities. At year's end, some
asylum seekers had been resettled, primarily in Australia and New Zealand;
however, approximately 700 remained in detention in Nauru. Most of this
population had been denied refugee status, but not yet repatriated. None had
requested resettlement in Nauru. In May the UNHCR asked the Government
to reconsider its denial of admission to the bar for several Australian lawyers
offering legal assistance to detained asylum seekers. The Government
reportedly had suggested that asylum seekers instead retain local counsel.

Section 3: Respect for Political Rights: The Right of Citizens to Change
their Government

   [29] The Constitution provides citizens the right to change their
government. The Government also can be changed through a petition from
the members of Parliament. Although the country's politics is based more on
clan than party membership, persons with diverse points of view have been
elected to Parliament.




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                                                   on Human Rights Practices

    [30] Parliament elects the President. There was a change in government
in March 2001, the first change in government since the general elections in
April 2000. A new President was elected by Parliament, and a new cabinet
was convened in April 2001. In March 2002, Chief Secretary Matthew
Batsuia resigned, citing a lack of faith in the Government. (Chief Secretary
is the senior civil service position in the country.)

   [31] During the country's history, all changes in government have been
peaceful and in accordance with the Constitution. In parliamentary elections,
voting by secret ballot is compulsory for all citizens over the age of 20.
There were multiple candidates for all parliamentary seats during the 2000
elections. Naoero Amo member and former Presidential Counsel David
Adeang was elected to Parliament during the year, winning a by-election
prompted by disputes over the counting of ballots in his 2000 parliamentary
race. New nationwide parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place in
April 2003.

   [32] There are no legal impediments to participation in politics by
women. In the past, the dominance of traditional clans in national politics
limited participation by women, and there are no female Members of
Parliament. However, there is growing participation by women in party-
based politics, and women held many senior civil service positions,
including Permanent Secretary and Cabinet Secretary-level jobs.

Section 4: Governmental Attitude Regarding International and Non-
governmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights

   [33] There were no restrictions on establishing local groups that concern
themselves specifically with human rights, but no groups have been formed.
In May the Australian-based Catholic Commission for Justice, Development
and Peace raised concerns about alleged arbitrary detention of asylum
seekers, asserting that the detainees were not being processed in accordance
with the Constitution (see: Section 1.d.).




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Section 5: Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Disability, Language, or
Social Status

   [34] The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, disability,
language, or social status, and the Government observed these provisions.

Women

   [35] The Government did not keep track of incidents of physical and
domestic abuse against women. However, credible reports indicated that
sporadic abuse, often aggravated by alcohol use, occurred. Families
normally sought to reconcile such problems informally, and, if necessary,
communally. The judiciary and the Government treated major incidents and
unresolved family disputes seriously.

   [36] Spousal rape per se is not a crime, but police will prosecute charges
of rape leveled against a spouse. Prostitution is illegal and not widespread.
Sexual harassment is a crime, and was not a serious problem.

   [37] The law grants women the same freedoms and protections as men.
The Government officially provided equal opportunities in education and
employment, and women were free to own property and pursue private
interests. However, in practice societal pressures limited opportunities for
women to fully exercise these rights. There was a Women's Affairs Office to
promote professional opportunities for women.

Children

   [38] The Government devoted adequate resources for education and
health care for children. Education was compulsory until age 16. Child abuse
statistics do not exist, but alcohol abuse sometimes led to child neglect or
abuse. There were no reported cases of child abuse or child prostitution
during the year.




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Persons with Disabilities

   [39] There was no reported discrimination in employment, education, and
the provision of state services to persons with disabilities. However, no
legislation mandated access to public buildings and services for persons with
disabilities. Persons who applied to the Health Department could obtain
government assistance in building access ramps to homes and workplaces.

   [40] There are no formal mechanisms to protect persons with mental
disabilities; however, the Government at times provided essential services to
the families of such persons.

National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

    [41] Nonnative Pacific Island workers experienced some discrimination.
While foreign workers were provided free housing, the shelters were often
poorly maintained and overcrowded. In the past, some foreign workers
alleged that the police rarely acted on their complaints against citizens (see:
Section 6.e.).

Section 6: Worker Rights

   a. The Right of Association

   [42] The Constitution provides for the right of citizens to form and
belong to trade unions or other associations. However, the country has
virtually no labor laws, and there were no trade unions. Past efforts to form
unions were discouraged officially. The transient nature of the mostly
foreign work force also has hampered efforts to organize the labor force.
There were no prohibitions or limits on the right of unions to affiliate with
international bodies.




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   b. The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

   [43] While there were no legal impediments, collective bargaining did
not take place. The private sector employed only about one percent of
salaried workers. For government workers, public service regulations
determined salaries, working hours, vacation periods, and other employment
matters.

   [44] The right to strike is neither protected, prohibited, nor limited by
law. No strikes took place during the year.

   [45] There are no export processing zones.

   c. Prohibition of Forced or Bonded Labor

   [46] The Constitution forbids forced or bonded labor, including forced
and bonded labor by children, and the Government effectively enforced
these prohibitions.

  d. Status of Child Labor Practices and Minimum Age for
Employment

   [47] The law sets age 17 as the minimum age of employment. The only
two large employers, the Government and the NPC, honored this rule. Some
children under the age of 17 worked in small, family-owned businesses.

   [48] The country is not a member of the International Labor Organization
(ILO) and has not ratified ILO Convention 182 on the worst forms of child
labor.




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   e. Acceptable Conditions of Work

   [49] Minimum wage rates for office workers and manual laborers
provided an adequate, if modest, standard of living for a worker and family.
Most families lived in simple but adequate housing, and almost every family
owned some sort of motor vehicle. The Government set the minimum yearly
wage administratively for the public sector. Since November 1992, that rate
has been $6,562 ($A9,056) for those 21 years of age or older. The rate is
progressively lower for those under 21 years of age. Employers determined
wages for foreign contract workers based on market conditions and the
consumer price index. Usually foreign workers and their families received
free housing, utilities, medical treatment, and often a food allowance. Some
noncitizen contract workers complained about conditions in company living
compounds. By regulation the workweek for office workers was 36 hours,
and for manual laborers, 40 hours in both the public and private sectors.
Neither law nor regulations stipulated a weekly rest period; however, most
workers observed Saturdays and Sundays as holidays.

   [50] The Government sets health and safety standards. The NPC had an
active safety program that included an emphasis on worker education and
the use of safety equipment such as helmets, safety shoes, and dust
respirators. The NPC had a safety officer who was specifically responsible
for improving safety standards and compliance throughout the company.

   f. Trafficking in Persons

  [51] The law does not specifically prohibit trafficking; however, there
were no reports that persons were trafficked to, from, or within the country.

   The views expressed in this report are those of the U.S. Department
of State, and its authors, not PARDS. A copy of this report is provided
as a courtesy to our clients: immigration attorneys, current applicants,
and those contemplating filing for political asylum in the United States.
Readers are encouraged to obtain a copy of the PARDS critique of the
Department of State’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and


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Profile of Asylum Claims and Country Conditions report series from our
web page: http://www.pards.org/profilecrtitique.doc. We welcome your
questions, comments and requests.

NOTE: The text of this report was drawn from the Department of State’s
original version, font enlarged for ease of review and the paragraphs
numbered for ease of reference. Those Department of State reports for which
a comprehensive source and statement-by-statement PARDS Critique and
Reliability Assessment have been prepared contain an alphabetic superscript
at the end of each sentence. To order a report-specific PARDS Critique and
Reliability Assessment, email your request to politicalasylum@gmail.com or
call us at 1(609) 497 – 7663.




Internal File: Nauru 2002 CRHRP



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PARDS Critique (rev. December 2006)
Country Report on Human Rights Practices
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
U.S. Department of State
Washington, D.C. 20520

1. The Department of State is a political, not an academic institution.

2. The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices and Profiles of Asylum
   Claims and Country Conditions series are just two of a number of
   publications, both authored, and disseminated by the U.S. Department of
   State.

3. The annual preparation and release of the Country Reports on Human
   Rights Practices series was mandated by congress in the late 1970s.
   Initially covering only recipient governments of U.S. foreign aid, that
   mandate subsequently expanded to include all member states of the
   United Nations. Congressional intent included uncovering the extent to
   which recipient governments of U.S. foreign aid were persecuting their
   civilian populations, resulting in mass migration to the U.S., and a basis
   for threatening to withhold that assistance, in an effort to curb the violence
   and reduce the number of refugees filing for asylum.

4. Albeit the product of a congressional mandate, the Bureau of Democracy,
   Human Rights and Labor realized and was editorially influenced by the
   fact that the principal consumer of the Country Reports would be
   immigration attorneys and those seeking asylum in the U.S.

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5. The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor has access to, and
   as a matter of routine reviews, the text of asylum applications in the U.S.

6. The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor has no interest,
   either to underscore, or corroborate claims of persecution articulated by
   asylum applicants in the U.S.

7. The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor also produces a
   companion series known as the Profiles of Asylum Claims and Country
   Conditions reports, pursuant to a request of what was then known as the
   Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Both the INS and its
   successor agency use this series of inter-agency memoranda as a vehicle
   for denying the claims of otherwise deserving asylum applicants.

8. The Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, and for the 51 countries
   that they exist, the Profiles of Asylum Claims and Country Conditions
   Reports, serve as the principal lens through which asylum officers,
   immigration judges, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), and
   Federal Courts, come to understand reality on the ground in the country to
   which asylum applicants face repatriation/deportation and, in addition to
   applicable immigration law as uniquely interpreted by same, a principal
   standard against which the merits of a claim are discerned. Any disparity
   between that which is peddled by the Department of State in these reports,
   versus that advanced as the basis for a claim of asylum, will be held
   against the applicant unless and until they produce evidence (expert
   testimony, and/or documentation) serving as a corrective lens to level
   their playing field.

9. Released intermittently (on average once every few years), the Profiles of
   Asylum Claims series focuses upon 51 countries, selected due to the:
   (a) numeric burden (number of asylum applications filed) presenting to its
   sister agency, (b) unattractive nature of their race (non-Caucasian),
   (c) religion (principally Muslim), and (d) cultural practices of asylum
   applicants emanating from the targeted countries.


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10. Each Profile report is characterized as: (a) amplifying upon the economic
    disparity between the U.S. and the country in question, (b) emphasizes
    economics, to the exclusion of any other basis, as the underlying
    (exclusive) motivation for their selection of, continued presence in,
    refusal to leave, and decision to petition the government of the U.S. for
    asylum, and (c) anyone claiming persecution from any of these countries
    could easily have avoided, and/or evaded those who sought to harm them
    through internal relocation (the all persecution and genocide is local
    argument) within their country of origin (the `Century 21’ apartment
    relocation option).

11. To put it charitably, the Profiles series is essentially an encyclopedic
    compendium of historical revisionism where `black’ is passed off for
    `white,’ `up’ becomes `down,’ and `inside’ peddled to anyone gullible
    enough to buy it as `outside.’ There is no shortage of willing buyers to
    this fiction: asylum officers, immigration judges, Board of Immigration
    Appeals (BIA) and Federal Courts, where the Profiles are designed to
    mislead the naïve, or worse yet, serve as cover for those with criminal
    intent to screw an otherwise deserving applicant.

12. The opinions (spin) articulated by the Department of State reflect the
    official position of the administration in power at the time they were
    authored.

13. The official positions articulated by the Department of State are not
    beyond the influence of political and economic considerations, relative
    to the national interests of the U.S.

14. From their inception, the Country Report on Human Rights Practices
    series in the early 1970s, and the Profiles of Asylum Claims and Country
    Conditions reports series much more recently, internationally known and
    recognized, country-specific experts, scholars, and human rights
    organizations have been critical of their accuracy and reliability due to
    their use and reliance upon significant distortions and glaringly
    immutable omissions.

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15. In order to assess the accuracy of information one must consider the
    reliability of its source, methodology employed to gather it, and degree
    to which the conveyor of that information accurately interpreted and
    reported same.

16. The Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor references few, let
    alone multiple, internationally known and respected sources to support
    the opinions expressed, either in the Country Report on Human Rights
    Practices, or Profiles of Asylum Claims series.

17. Noticeably absent from the Country Reports are footnotes and end notes,
    fundamental components inherent in a Junior High School term paper.

18. The Department of State withholds the methodology employed to
    gather the information used and referenced, either in the Country
    Reports, or Profiles of Asylum Claims.

19. The identities, country- and issue-specific qualifications (curriculum
    vitae) of the authors and editors of Department of State’s Country
    Reports and Profiles of Asylum Claims series are withheld.

20. Absent opportunity to review and analyze the pool of data, both
    assembled and considered by the authors and editors of the Department
    of State’s Country Reports and Profiles of Asylum Claims series, one is
    prevented from formulating an accurate assessment regarding the
    reliability of its content.

21. Unlike a country- or issue-specific expert who authors of an affidavit in
    support of a claim for asylum, the `researchers,’ authors, and editors of
    the Department of State’s Country Reports and Profiles of Asylum
    Claims series are not subject to revealing their identity, subpoena, cross
    examination, either under oath, or otherwise, and their credentials
    withheld from the courts, and scrutiny of asylum applicants.
Internal File: PARDSCritiqueCRHRP(rev.December2006)


                                      Political Asylum Research
                                      and Documentation Service (PARDS) LLC
                                      Princeton, New Jersey 08542
                                      www.pards.org
(rev. 02-14-07)                       politicalasylum@gmail.com

								
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