19 Jun 2018

Pacific needs to speak out about Nauru - academic

6:48 am on 19 June 2018

The Nauru government is not following good governance and New Zealand and the Pacific Islands Forum should speak out, an academic says.

Pacific Islands Forum leaders at the UN.
Front row from left: Nauru president Baron Waqa, PNG foreign minister Rimbink Pato, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, Pacific Forum sec-gen Dame Meg Taylor, Federated States of Micronesia president Peter Christian, New Zealand prime minister John Key.

Nauru President Baron Waqa (second from left) with other Pacific Island Forum leaders at the United Nations Photo: PNG government

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 goverance, 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."

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