Nauru – “OK” to UN Refugee Convention
Nauru signs UN refugee convention
President of Nauru, Marcus Stephen.
NAURU has ratified the United Nations Refugee Convention, yesterday releasing a photograph of its president Marcus Stephen signing the document to prove the point.
This boosts Opposition leader Tony Abbott’s attack on the federal government over its Malaysia refugee swap, because Malaysia is not a signatory to the Refugee Convention.
Signatories commit to key human rights principles, including not returning refugees to countries from which they have fled.
Mr Abbott last Saturday toured Nauru to argue a processing centre located there would be a ”more humane” option for boat arrivals. The Nauru government released a statement yesterday saying Mr Stephen has signed the instruments of accession to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol.
”We will then deposit the documents with the Secretary-General of the United Nations and 90 days after he receives them, we will become a party to the Convention and its Protocols,” Nauru Secretary for Justice David Lambourne said.
Ms Gillard last year said the government wouldn’t deal with Nauru because it wasn’t a signatory. She said this week the government wouldn’t send asylum seekers to Nauru because this wouldn’t break the people smuggler’s business model.
Mr Abbott said yesterday: ”Now that the last of her so-called obstacles has been removed, Julia Gillard should swallow her political pride and drop her floundering ‘anywhere but Nauru’ policy.”
A spokesman for Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said: ”The Coalition left people to rot on Nauru for long periods, and then the great majority settled in Australia anyway.”
Mr Bowen yesterday responded to a High Court challenge to the Malaysia deal, saying ”we believe the arrangements with Malaysia are on very, very strong legal grounds”.
The deal is yet to be signed, and is being scrutinized by the UNHCR in Geneva.
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