NZ raises Nauru civil rights concerns

  • Murray McCully
Foreign Affairs

Foreign Minister Murray McCully met with President Waqa of Nauru in Sydney yesterday and today to express New Zealand’s concerns over reported violations of civil and political rights.

“My meetings with President Waqa provided an opportunity to raise New Zealand’s concerns about the suspension of opposition Members of Parliament, and the alleged removal of civil and political rights. I also raised directly the cancellation of Roland Kun’s passport, given his close connection to New Zealand,” Mr McCully says.

“President Waqa vigorously disputed some aspects of recent international media reporting and gave his Government’s perspective on these events. On some of these issues we clearly disagree, and on others the President has offered to supply further information. I have therefore asked officials to meet with their Nauruan counterparts for this purpose. The first such meeting occurred today.

“New Zealand provides $1.2 million a year to Nauru to support the administration of justice. Nauru understands that we have a special interest in recent developments for this reason.

“A functioning justice sector in Nauru is critically important, not just for the people of Nauru, but also for their role as an Offshore Processing Centre for asylum seekers. To date our support has helped to increase access to legal services, and a recent audit of our funding found it was being used appropriately.

“I have asked Ministry officials to complete discussions regarding our current concerns prior to the next tranche of New Zealand funding to Nauru, which is currently scheduled for August this year,” Mr McCully says.