U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - Nauru
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Publication Date||30 January 1998|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices 1997 - Nauru, 30 January 1998, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6aa1a1c.html [accessed 24 July 2014]|
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, January 30, 1998.
NAURUThe Republic of Nauru, a small Pacific island with about 10,500 inhabitants, gained independence in 1968, at which time it adopted a modified form of parliamentary democracy. Nauru has two levels of government, the unicameral Parliament and the Nauru Island Council (NIC). Parliamentary elections must be held at least triennially. The Parliament, consisting of 18 members from 14 constituencies, is responsible for national and international matters. It elects the President, who is both Head of State and Head of Government, from among its members. The NIC acts as the local government and is responsible for public services. The judiciary is independent. Nauru has no armed forces although it does maintain a small police force (less than 100 members) under civilian control. The economy depends almost entirely on the country's declining phosphate deposits--although recent government statements indicate that new drilling technology may extend the productivity of its mines. The mining industry is controlled by the government-owned Nauru Phosphate Corporation (NPC). The Government places a large percentage of the NPC's earnings in long-term investments meant to support the citizenry after the phosphate reserves have been exhausted. The Governments of Nauru and Australia reached a $70.4 million out-of-court settlement in 1993 for rehabilitation of the Nauruan lands ruined by Australian phosphate mining. Fundamental human rights are provided for in the Constitution and are generally respected in practice. There were no reports of specific human rights abuses, but in the traditional culture women occupy a subordinate role, with limits on their job opportunities. Complaints of discrimination against non-Nauruan Pacific island workers, particularly in treatment by police and in housing, continued.