Human Rights Advocate: Nauru Facebook Ban ‘Stifling’

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Australia asylum seeker policy causing ‘regression’ in country

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, May 6, 2015) – An Australian human rights advocate says the Nauru government's Facebook ban is the latest step in a very regressive trend towards reducing transparency and stifling dissent.

The Human Rights Law Centre's Director of Legal Advocacy, Daniel Webb, says Nauru has restricted access to the United Nations and NGOs, excluded international media by increasing visa fees and ousted its judicary.

He says Nauru's social media blackout needs to be understood in this context.

"There are other countries in the world that restrict access to social media; North Korea, China, Iran for instance. So I think in that sense Nauru is keeping questionable company. Over the last year and a bit, we've seen checks and balances on government power in Nauru eroded."

Daniel Webb says Australia should be a positive force for human rights protection in the Pacific region but instead its asylum seeker policies have been the catalyst for regression.

[PIR editor’s note: Australia has been accused of requesting Nauru impose the Facebook ban.]

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