Learn more about specific causes in Nauru that you can get involved in.
Human RightsCitizens of Nauru have had to deal with differing levels of transparency by their government. The Foreign Ministry gained the power to cancel passports without court review, and used this new power to cancel passports of 20 protesters in a pro-democracy rally. 1 The government is also in the process of creating policy to handle the refugees and asylum-seekers that need attention. The inhumane detention centers on the island have been condemned by the international community, and Australia has promised to shut them down. As of 2017 the centers were still open. 2
ReligionAccording to recent estimates, 60% of Nauruans are Protestants, 33% are Roman Catholic, and the remaining percentages are unspecified religions.1 A religious group is required to have 750 members in order to be legally recognized. Protestants and Catholics in the country are influential in creating an environment of tolerance for the influx of refugees being integrated into the communities. 2
Clean WaterThe population of Nauru depends almost entirely on rainwater for their drinking water, and their supplies have recently become too salinized for consumption, leading the government to designate water security as a national priority. Nauru currently receives aid and financial assistance from Australia to help with water projects.1 There has been tension recently with speculation that water and other supplies were being mishandled by authorities instead of being properly distributed. 2
EconomyNauru’s main exports and resources stem from the phosphate mining industry. The intense mining of phosphates has effectively destroyed the land and is causing long-term problems on the island. In addition to mining, the economy is bolstered by offshore banking. Australia is a major economic supporter of Nauru. 23% of the population is unemployed; the island is totally dependent on food imports and international financial assistance. The small country’s GDP is $151 million.1 The island’s remote location, limited resources, and high unemployment are among the government’s largest economic challenges. 2
GovernmentThe Republic of Nauru is a parliamentary republic, whose president is both the chief of state and head of government. Nauru is a former UN trust territory that gained independence in 1968 and in 1999 joined the United Nations as the smallest independent republic in the world.1 The most prominent political group is the Woman Information and News Agency, and the largest political party is the Democratic Party. 1 In 2017, the government began consultations for the National Sustainable Development Strategy. 2
HealthThe island of Nauru has demonstrated progress towards reducing child mortality and the prevalence rate of HIV and malaria. The largest hurdle towards the realization of Millennium Development Goals in Nauru is the unhealthy lifestyle choices that many citizens make. 1 Alcohol consumption and tobacco use are integral to Nauruan culture, and the prevalence of this causes many health problems. 2
ChildrenDue to international pressure to better protect the children in Nauru, in 2015 the government implemented Child Protection Services Division in its Ministry of Home Affairs. Support also has been provided by the Domestic Violence Unit of the police force. This is in response to the numerous reports of child abuse and neglect surfacing in the country.1 There was an anonymous report published to the Australian Human Rights Commission website that declared rampant human rights violations including physical and sexual abuse of children, medical treatment delays, and inadequate legal protections.2
EnvironmentAs an island country, Nauru has a temperate climate with little to no variation besides the rainy monsoon season from November to February. The island has a unique structure, with a sandy outer edge, a ring of fertile soil, and a center rich with phosphate. The mining of phosphate has stripped the center of the island of nearly all vegetation. 1 The government has an action plan for the rehabilitation of the mining lands, but none of the steps have been effectively implemented. The government’s main focus is screening new projects before they make the current environmental problem worse. 2
FamilyNauru follows a clan-based class system in its society, with marriages required to be between members of different clans. All inheritance is passed down on the maternal side. 1 Many families are being split apart by the detention centers and the strict laws about immigration. Families rarely get granted freedom or relocation at the same time, so there are many fragmented families in the system. 2
EducationDue to the limited amount of job opportunities available on Nauru, the government has expressly stated that the mission of the education system is to train children for jobs located off the island. 1 Education in Nauru is largely funded and influenced by Australia, who also creates the curriculum. It is required by the government that all children ages 7-18 be enrolled in school. 2 The island only has 10 schools, and has faced many problems providing qualified teachers to staff them. 3
PovertyDuring the time of most productivity from the phosphate mines, Nauru was one of the world’s richest islands. Now, 24% of the population is living below the basic-needs poverty line. The economy doesn’t create enough jobs for locals now that the resource for their main industry has been depleted. Many of the detainees live in poverty in inhumane conditions despite international assistance. 1
AnimalsThe harsh climate and weather on Nauru makes it difficult for many species to live there successfully. Two endemic bird species have been identified, although one species was last spotted in 1945 and believed to have been eaten into extinction by the Japanese contingent occupying the island during World War I. There are no native mammals on the island. Overpopulation in certain areas and an increasing growth rate are putting pressure on the delicate ecosystem. 1
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