Monday, March 07, 2016

Nauru goes invite only

Now that it is hosting an Australian concentration camp, Nauru doesn't like journalists. Last year, they effectively banned all outside journalists from entering the country. When one snuck in anyway under cover of a tourist visa last month, the government threw a tantrum and revoked all visas. Now they've gazetted new immigration regulations. The short version: Australians and New Zealanders are only allowed to visit Nauru if they have a written invitation from a sponsor living there. And if they turn out to be a journalist - sorry, "breach the terms and conditions of his or her visa" - both they and their sponsor could go to jail.

The goal here is fairly clearly to shut down outside scrutiny of what is happening on Nauru, both to its democracy (the government has evicted the opposition from Parliament) and to the refugees it is imprisoning for Australia (who are abused, beaten and raped by both their guards and the local population, and effectively beyond the protection of the law). Its the move of a government which feels that it has something to hide. And when there's prisoners in gulags and an election coming up, it looks deeply, deeply suspicious.