Criticism about human rights abuses in Nauru refugee camps leads to Facebook ban
The ban on Facebook in Nauru should be lifted immediately, says the Pacific Freedom Forum. "Banning social networks presents a dangerous threat to human rights," says PFF Chair Titi Gabi. "As a centre for processing refugees, the government of Nauru should ensure it protects human rights while benefiting from Australian aid dollars," she says.
Access to Facebook on Nauru was cut after the government faced growing criticism about human rights abuses in its refugee camps, including child abuse. An independent review found cases of rape, assault and drugs for favours at the detention centre. The ban also follows government censorship of state media and a new $8,000 fee (approx. US$6,340) for foreign media to enter the country, according to opposition critics.
The government said it asked the country's only Internet provider, Digicel, to cut access to some sites, without mentioning Facebook, claiming there was a problem with child porn. Facebook is heavily monitored for pornography.
PFF Co-Chair Monica Miller says the ban shows how desperate the government must be. "The ban is a direct attack on freedoms of speech," says Miller. "Instead of answering critics, the government has chosen to cut off access to one of the region's most popular social networks. "Instead of a ban, the governments of Nauru and Australia should be looking at getting assistance to resolve this issue from neutral bodies, such as the United Nations."
The ban has attracted wide coverage globally.
What other IFEX members are saying
Pacific Freedom Forum (PFF)
Human Rights Watch