6 Jul 2018

Pacific Island Forum encouraged to coax Nauru's democracy

12:58 pm on 6 July 2018

A research academic at the Australian National University says regional bodies like the Pacific Islands Forum must have a role in encouraging the Nauru government towards more democratic practices.

Baron Divavesi Waqa, President of the Republic of Nauru, addresses the United Nations high-level summit on large movements of refugees and migrants. sEP 2016

President of the Republic of Nauru Baron Waqa Photo: UN Photo/JC McIlwaine

The Nauru government has banned Australia's state broadcaster the ABC from covering the upcoming Forum Leaders meeting in the country in September citing false reporting.

Limiting media access to the leaders' summit conflicts with the Forum's stated principles of good governance, transparency, accountability and the fostering of democracy.

The ANU Development Policy Centre's Terence Wood said Australia's sponsorship of refugee detention centres on Nauru undermined its ability to ask the hard questions of Nauru's leaders.

Dr Wood said organisations, such as the Forum, should fill the vacuum.

"You'd think there'd be a role for regional organisations, once again, engaging in a conversation about the importance of democracy and the respect for individuals' rights."

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