Rights in Exile Programme

Refugee Legal Aid Information for Lawyers Representing Refugees Globally

Nauru LGBTI Resources

(See Below for Case Law, Evidence of Public Attitudes, NGOs that Assist or Advocate on LGBTI issues, and Country of Origin LGBTI Specialists) 

The Criminal Code of Queensland in its application to Nauru on 1 July 1921, under Chapter XXI, Section 211, addresses homosexual behaviors as “Indecent practices between Males”, stating that, whether these are performed in public or private, they are punishable with imprisonment with forced labour for three years. Under the same Chapter, in Section 208, the Code addresses “Unnatural Offences”, which include “carnal knowledge” of any person in ways that go “against the order of nature”, and are punishable with fourteen years of imprisonment and hard labour. Even the mere “attempt” to commit “Unnatural Offences” is punishable with seven years in prison with hard labour under Section 209. 
Therefore, while homosexual relations between males are manifestly outlawed, relations between females are not, but section 208 leaves space for a wide array of interpretations.

CASE LAW

We are not currently aware of any person from Nauru who has claimed asylum on the basis of their gender identity. We welcome your updates on the matter.

PUBLIC ATTITUDES AND/OR STATE'S CAPACITY TO PROTECT

Although the Nauruan Prime Minister Mathew Batsiua announced in 2011 that the country was going to decriminalize homosexuality, no legislative changes have been made so far. In 2013 and 2014, no prosecutions of LGBTIs were reported, as well as no acts of discrimination against homosexuals, although “stigma or intimidation could be a factor in preventing the reporting of discrimination or abuse.” (US Department of State, Nauru Human Rights Report, 2013) Furthermore, there are no laws criminalizing violence or discrimination against homosexuals (US Department of State, Nauru Human Rights Report, 2014), as well as no recognition of same-sex marriage.

We have received complaints from gay refugees sent to Nauru from Australia and being targeted and abused on the streets on the basis of their gender identity and sexual orientation. 

NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGOs)

We are not currently aware of any organisations working with LGBTI persons in Nauru, but welcome suggestions.  

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN SPECIALISTS

We do not currently have any specialists on LGBTI issues in Nauru, but welcome suggestions.

 

Researched by: Elisa Vari
Email: elisa_variatyahoo [dot] it

Last update: March 2016

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