(See Below for Case Law, Evidence of Public Attitudes, NGOs that Assist or Advocate on LGBTI issues, and Country of Origin LGBTI Specialists)
In May 2016, Nauru reformed its criminal code and decriminalised homosexuality. The reformed laws replace those set out in the 1899 Criminal Code of Queensland.
Previously, the Criminal Code of Queensland in its application to Nauru on 1 July 1921, under Chapter XXII, Section 211, addressed 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 addressed “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” was punishable with seven years in prison with hard labour under Section 209.
Therefore, while homosexual relations between males were manifestly outlawed, relations between females are not, but section 208 left space for a wide array of interpretations.
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
The Nauruan Prime Minister Mathew Batsiua announced in 2011 that the country was going to decriminalize homosexuality. 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
Last update: March 2016