Nauru Parliament Gives Government Broad Powers To Cancel Passports

Individuals 'that threaten the national or economic security of the country' can be prevented from traveling

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Sept. 8, 2016) – The Nauru government has passed amendments to the country's passport laws to give it broader powers to cancel passports.

It had earlier cancelled the passports of several former MPs and others who allegedly took part in an anti-government protest in June 2015.

The Justice Minister David Adeang introduced the amendments to the Passport Act 2011, which passed with a voice vote in the house, where the government enjoys a 16-2 majority.

He told parliament the new law allows the government to cancel passports of people it reasonably thinks might engage in acts that threaten the national or economic security of the country.

Riddell Akua, one of two opposition members in the new parliament, said the government hurried through the amendment to the Passport Act 2011 yesterday to legitimise its actions against Mr Dabwido.

"It's quite common practice when there's a loophole you always make an amendment to the loophole in the next sitting," he said.

"I think it's poor behaviour, to be really frank, I've sort of disassociated myself from it, it's become personal and it's become muddy and it's a real complicated thing."

The changes also mean that anyone who has had their passport cancelled who wants to review the decision must write to the President, who is the head of government in Nauru, rather than the courts.

One MP and former president, Sprent Dabwido, has been barred from travelling to seek urgent medical treatment for his heart condition.

His passport was cancelled after he booked a flight to Brisbane to see his doctor. He was told at the airport that Mr Adeang had personally intervened.

Mr Dabwido said the move is a complete abuse of the rule of law and democratic process but he is not surprised, given the treatment that even elected MPs have faced in recent years.

Radio New Zealand International
Copyright © 2016 RNZI. All Rights Reserved

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Shame, shame, shame!!!! I am shameful to be called "half" Nauruan. One day we all will give an account of what God gives to perform in this world, at home, in government, and in church as well.

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