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Nauru

NAURU

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
TOPOGRAPHY
CLIMATE
FLORA AND FAUNA
ENVIRONMENT
POPULATION
MIGRATION
ETHNIC GROUPS
LANGUAGES
RELIGIONS
TRANSPORTATION
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL PARTIES
LOCAL GOVERNMENT
JUDICIAL SYSTEM
ARMED FORCES
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
ECONOMY
INCOME
LABOR
AGRICULTURE
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
FISHING
FORESTRY
MINING
ENERGY AND POWER
INDUSTRY
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DOMESTIC TRADE
FOREIGN TRADE
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
BANKING AND SECURITIES
INSURANCE
PUBLIC FINANCE
TAXATION
CUSTOMS AND DUTIES
FOREIGN INVESTMENT
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HEALTH
HOUSING
EDUCATION
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
MEDIA
ORGANIZATIONS
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
FAMOUS NAURUANS
DEPENDENCIES
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Republic of Nauru

Naoero

CAPITAL: There is no formal capital. The seat of government is in the district of Yaren

FLAG: The flag has a blue background divided horizontally by a narrow gold band, symbolizing the equator. Below the band on the left side is a white 12-pointed star, representing the island's 12 traditional tribes.

ANTHEM: Nauru Ubwema (Nauru, Our Homeland ).

MONETARY UNIT: The Australian dollar (a$) of 100 cents is the legal currency. a$1 = us$0.76336 (or us$1 = a$1.31) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: Imperial weights and measures are used.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Independence Day, 31 January; Angam Day, 26 October (a celebration of the day on which the population of Nauru reached the pre-World War II level); Christmas Day, 25 December; and Boxing Day, 26 December.

TIME: 11:30 pm = noon GMT.

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT

Situated in the western Pacific, Nauru is one of the world's smallest independent nations, with an area of 21 sq km (8.1 sq mi), extending 5.6 km (3.5 mi) nnessw and 4 km (2.5 mi) esewnw. Comparatively, the area occupied by Nauru is about one-tenth the size of Washington, D.C. It lies between two island groups, the Solomons and the Gilberts, 53 km (33 mi) s of the equator and 3,930 km (2,442 mi) nne of Sydney; its nearest neighbor is Banaba (formerly Ocean Island, now part of Kiribati), situated 305 km (190 mi) to the e. Nauru has a coastline of 30 km (18.6 mi). The Yaren district, which holds the seat of the government, is located on the southern coast of the Nauru.

TOPOGRAPHY

Nauru, one of the largest phosphate-rock islands in the Pacific, is oval-shaped and fringed by a wide coral reef. It has no natural harbor or anchorage. A relatively fertile belt varying in width from 150300 m (490980 ft) encircles the island. From this belt a coral cliff rises to a central plateau about 60 m (200 ft) above sea level. Buada Lagoon, a permanent, often brackish lake, covers some 300 acres (1.2 km/0.47 sq mi) in the southeastern end of the plateau. Apart from some brackish ponds and an underground lake, the nation's water supply is provided by rainfall.

CLIMATE

Nauru has a dry season, marked by easterly trade winds, and a wet season with westerly monsoons extending from November to February. The average annual rainfall is about 200 cm (79 in), but the amount varies greatly from year to year, and long droughts have been a recurrent problem. Temperatures remain steady, between 2433°c (7591°f) the year round, and relative humidity is also constant at about 80%.

FLORA AND FAUNA

The plateau area contains large phosphate deposits that almost completely inhibit any natural growth useful for subsistence or commerce. Large areas of scrub and creeper, with occasional coconut and tamanu trees, grow in this region. On the coastal belt, coconut palms and pandanus (a type of screw pine) thrive. Some hibiscus, frangipani, and other tropical flowers grow, but they do not abound here as on other Pacific islands. Bird life is not plentiful, although noddies, terns, and frigate birds frequent the island. There are no indigenous land animals; however, hogs and poultry were introduced many years ago. Fish life is abundant in the seas encircling Nauru and good catches of tuna and bonito are taken.

ENVIRONMENT

Nauru's phosphate mining industry has done significant damage to the land. In 1987, the Nauruan government began to investigate the nation's mining operations with the goal of developing a plan to regenerate the land and replace lost vegetation. Land in the coastal region, however, has not been affected by the development of the country's mining industry. Vegetation in the coastal areas, such as pandanus and coconut palms, is plentiful. Nauru has limited freshwater resources. Its residents collect rainwater in rooftop storage tanks. Periodic droughts pose an additional hazard to the environment. Nauru is also affected by the global warming trend which has caused sea levels to rise, placing low-laying areas at risk from tidal surges and flooding.

According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), threatened species included 19 animal species, most of which were fish and other marine animals such as albacore tuna, coconut crab, and the tiger shark. The bristle-thighed curlew and Finsch's reed warbler are vulnerable animal species.

POPULATION

The population of Nauru in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 13,000, which placed it at number 191 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 2% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 41% of the population under 15 years of age. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 200510 was expected to be 1.8%, a rate the government viewed as satisfactory. The projected population for the year 2025 was 17,887. The population density was 590 per sq km (1,529 per sq mi).

Most Nauruans live around the coastal fringes, in their traditional districts. About half the population consists of immigrant contract laborers, technicians, and teachers. Most Chinese, as well as immigrants from Kiribati and Tuvalu, are settled in communities near the phosphate works.

The UN reported that 100% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005. The seat of government is in the district of Yaren, which had a population of 13,000 in that year.

MIGRATION

Immigration to Nauru is strictly controlled by the government. Nauruans are free to travel abroad. In 2000 and 2005, the net migration rate was zero migrants per 1,000 population. In 2001 some 1,500 asylum seekers (most from Afghanistan) were processed by Naura at the request of Australia, after that country had turned the asylum seekers away. After spending three years in Nauru, most were transferred to New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, and Norway by 2004. There are more than 50 asylum seekers in Nauru, among them Iraqis, Afghans, Bangladeshis, Iranians, and one Pakistani. The government views the migration levels as satisfactory. There were a total of 5,000 migrants living in Nauru in 2000, which accounted for more than 30% of the total population.

ETHNIC GROUPS

The Nauruan people are the only indigenous ethnic group on the island. They are of mixed Micronesian, Melanesian, and Polynesian origin and resemble the last strain most closely. Nauruans are traditionally divided into 12 clans or tribes in which descent is matrilineal, although kinship and inheritance rules have some patrilineal features. The 12 clans are Eamwit, Eamwidumwit, Deboe, Eoaru, Emea, Eano, Emangum, Ranibok, Eamwidara, Iruwa, Irutsi (extinct), and Iwi (extinct). Admixtures of Caucasian and Negroid lineage in the 19th century and frequent intermarriage with other Pacific islanders have changed the present-day features of Nauruans from those of their forebears.

The Caucasians on the island are almost all Australians and New Zealanders employed in administrative or teaching posts or in the phosphate industry. The Chinese and immigrants from Kiribati and Tuvalu originally came to the island as laborers in the phosphate industry, some being accompanied by their families. Filipino contract workers are also present but are not permitted to bring their families.

According to the latest estimates, about 58% of the population are Nauruan, 26% are other Pacific Islander, 8% Chinese, and 8% European.

LANGUAGES

Nauruan, which is distinct from all other Pacific tongues, is the official language. However, English is still commonly used in the schools, in government, and in business transactions. Most Nauruans are bilingual but use Nauruan in everyday life.

RELIGIONS

The Nauruans have accepted Christianity as a primary religion since the end of the 19th century. A 2004 report indicated that about two-thirds of the population were Protestant and one-third were Roman Catholic. Missionary groups include Anglicans, Methodists, Mormons, and Jehovah's Witnesses. Buddhism and Taoism are also represented, particularly among the Chinese community.

The constitution provides for religious freedom, but this right has been restricted by the government. Primarily, the government claims the right to restrict any organizations which it feels poses a threat to public safety, public order, or public morality. Under this assumption, the government has restricted Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses from proselytizing of native-born citizens, claiming that such actions are likely to break up families. Several officials of the Nauru Protestant Church hold influential positions in the government.

TRANSPORTATION

Transport to and from Nauru has traditionally been by ships calling at the island to unload freight and pick up phosphates for delivery to Australia, New Zealand, and other countries. There is no merchant marine, but the public Nauru Pacific Line has a fleet of six ships. In 2004, there was one airport and it had a paved runway. The government-owned Air Nauru flies regular air services to the Pacific islands, Taiwan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. In 1997 it carried 137,000 passengers on scheduled flights.

The road system extended for a total of 30 km (19 mi) in 2002, of which 24 km (15 mi) were paved. Apart from a 5 km (3.1 mi) railway (used to carry phosphates), a school bus service, and fewer than 2,000 registered motor vehicles, there is no local transport.

HISTORY

The original settlers are thought to have been castaways who drifted to Nauru from another Pacific island. The first recorded discovery of Nauru by a Westerner was made by Captain John Fearn of the whaling ship Hunter in November 1798. He named the island Pleasant Island. From the 1830s to the 1880s, the Nauruans had a succession of visitorsrunaway convicts, deserters from whaling ships, and other men who can be classed as beachcombers. The beachcombers provided the Nauruans with their first real contact with Western civilization and introduced them to firearms and alcohol. They acted as a buffer between two cultures but were often a bad influence on the Nauruans. Several times beachcombers and Nauruans attempted to cut off and capture visiting ships, so that eventually Nauru came to be avoided as a watering place by ships whaling in the area. The advent of firearms also disturbed the balance of power between the tribes on the island; sporadic tribal warfare culminated in a 10-year civil war from 1878 to 1888 that reduced the native population to less than 1,000.

The British and German imperial governments agreed to the partition of the Western Pacific in 1886. Their purely arbitrary line of demarcation left Nauru in the German sphere of influence quite accidentally. It was not until 1888, on the petition of the beachcombers-turned-traders, that the German government annexed Nauru as a protectorate and disarmed the people. Christian missionaries arrived in 1899 and had a greater impact on the Nauruan culture than did the German administration.

In 1901, Sir Albert Ellis, a New Zealand geologist, discovered that there were large deposits of phosphate on both Nauru and Banaba (then called Ocean Island). Phosphate mining on Nauru began in 1907, after the German government had granted a concession to the British-owned Pacific Phosphate Co. Laborers from the German Caroline Islands were hired because the Nauruans had no interest in working in the mines.

Nauru was occupied by the Australian Expeditionary Force in 1914, and phosphate continued to be shipped all through World War I. In 1919, Nauru was made a League of Nations mandate of the British Empire, and the governments of Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom agreed to administer the island jointly through an administrator to be appointed by Australia. At the same time the three governments obtained the mandate, they jointly purchased the Pacific Phosphate Co.'s rights to Nauruan phosphate for uk£3.5 million and began to work the deposits through a three-man board called the British Phosphate Commissioners (BPC).

The phosphate industry expanded greatly in the years between the wars. Australian and New Zealand farmers enjoyed substantial savings, for Nauru phosphate was sold at a much lower price than phosphate from other countries. As for the Nauruans, with their small royalty of eightpence a ton in 1939, they opted out of the industry completely and turned to their own culture for sustenance.

War came to Nauru in December 1940, when the island was shelled by a roving German raider, and four phosphate ships were sunk. Nauru was flattened by Japanese bombings beginning in December 1941, and all its industrial plant and housing facilities were destroyed. The Japanese occupied the island from August 1942 until the end of the war three years later. They deported 1,200 Nauruans to build an airstrip on Truk, a small atoll about 1,600 km (1,000 mi) northwest of Nauru, and many died there. Australian forces reoccupied Nauru in September 1945, and the surviving Truk Nauruans, who had been reduced in number to only 737, were repatriated in January 1946. Nauru's population thus fell from 1,848 in 1940 to 1,369 in 1946.

The three mandatory governments placed the mandate of Nauru before the UN. On 1 November 1947, the UN approved an agreement by which the island became a trust territory administered jointly by Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, who were to share the task of developing self-government on the island. The Nauruans had a Council of Chiefs to represent them since 1927, but this body had advisory powers only. Dissatisfied Nauruans made a number of complaints to the administering authority and to the UN Trusteeship Council, with the result that a Nauruan local government council was established by the election of nine council members in December 1951. Since control of the council was exercised by the administrator, however, the Nauruans continued to press for further political power. They asked for positions of importance in the administration and an increase in royalty payments, and expressed concern about the future of the island because the increased rate of phosphate exportation would, it was feared, exhaust the deposits by the end of the century. By constant negotiations, the Nauruans forced the BPC to pay royalties on a rights rather than needs basis, and with the establishment of a world price in 1964, phosphate royalties were raised. The Nauruans achieved control of the industry in 1967 by purchasing the plant and machinery owned by the BPC, and in 1970 they took over the industry completely.

Meanwhile, in 1964, Australia had attempted to resettle the Nauruans on Curtis Island, off the coast of Queensland. The Nauruans, although in principle not averse to resettlement, refused it because of political considerations. They wanted to own their island and to maintain their identity by political independence. Australia would not agree to this, and the plan collapsed. This failure reinforced the Nauruans' desire for political independence. With the support of the Trusteeship Council, they established an elected Legislative Council in 1966. Although Australia wished to maintain control of defense and external affairs, the Nauruans insisted on complete self-determination. Thus, on 31 January 1968, the 22nd anniversary of the return of the Nauruan survivors from Truk, Nauru became the smallest independent republic in the world. Since that time, Nauru has pursued a policy of isolation and nonalignment, although it does have a role in Commonwealth affairs. In October 1982, Queen Elizabeth II visited the island, the first British monarch to do so. Nauru established diplomatic ties with the former Soviet Union in 1988. Nauru filed a claim in 1989 for compensation from Australia at the International Court of Justice for the loss of nearly all its topsoil from phosphate mining during the League of Nations mandate and the UN trusteeship. Australia agreed to pay a$2.5 million for 20 years, and New Zealand and the United Kingdom additionally agreed to pay a settlement of $12 million each in August 1993 to settle the loss of topsoil case. Nauru's government announced plans to rehabilitate the island at the 1994 Small Island States Conference on Sustainable Development. In July 1992 Nauru hosted the 24th South Pacific Forum heads of government meeting, which focused on environmental issues, including opposition to nuclear testing in the area.

Since winning its independence in 1968, Nauru experienced many changes in leadership. Hammer DeRoburt became Nauru's first president and was reelected in 1971 and 1973. He was defeated for reelection after the legislative voting in 1976, at which time Bernard Dowiyogo was chosen to succeed him as president. DeRoburt's supporters forced Dowiyogo's resignation in 1978, and DeRoburt again became president. He was reelected in 1980 and in 1983. In 1986, DeRoburt resigned in protest over opposition to his budget and was replaced by Kennan Adeang; however, DeRoburt's supporters quickly forced Adeang to resign, and DeRoburt was elected again. Because he did not have a clear majority, he called for a new election in 1987 and was reelected decisively.

A vote of no-confidence forced DeRoburt to resign in August 1989. He was replaced by Kenas Aroi, who then resigned in December 1989 for reasons of ill-health. The December 1989 general election resulted in Bernard Dowiyogo's election to the Presidency. He was reelected President for a second three-year term in November 1992, but lost his 1995 bid for reelection to Lagumot Harris. A series of no-confidence votes over the succeeding years brought several changes in what has come to be called a "revolving door" presidency. Dowiyogo was returned to office for the fifth time, following an election in April 2000. On 29 March 2001, he was forced from office in a political crisis over the alleged involvement of a Russian organized crime syndicate in Nauru's financial activities, and replaced by Rene Harris in March 2001.

Rene Harris held the presidency until 8 January 2003, when a no-confidence motion was passed against him. His ouster from office was linked to his support for Australia's "Pacific Solution" to exclude asylum-seeking boat people. He was also accused of corruption and blamed for Nauru's dire financial situation: Nauru had a budget deficit in 2002 of approximately us$40 million, almost half of its GDP. Following the vote of no-confidence, parliament voted numerous times on who would be elected president. Rene Harris was replaced by Dowiyogo, who then died following heart surgery in the United States on 9 March 2003. Derog Gioura was named acting president. General elections were held on 3 May 2003, and Harris was returned to parliament, along with Gioura.

In May 2004, after longstanding political deadlock in the legislature, the opposition elected one of its members as speaker of the house and passed a series of Private Members Bills, including one preventing Nauru's assets from being sold or mortgaged without parliamentary approval. One month later, a vote of no-confidence removed president Rene Harris and his cabinet from office. Ludwig Scotty was elected president. Following a special election in October 2004, he enjoyed a majority in the legislature which enabled his government to pass a budget designed to cut government expenses by reducing public sector salaries.

Nauru became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations in May 1999 and joined the United Nations in September of the same year. Long blacklisted by international financial monitoring organizations and banks for its role as a tax haven and money laundering center, Nauru was removed from the Financial Action Group's blacklist in 2005, following modifications to Nauru's banking laws. In a 2005 appeal before the UN General Assembly, Scotty presented his nation's financial recovery goals, and called for assistance from the world's donor nations.

GOVERNMENT

The constitution of the Republic of Nauru, adopted at the time of independence and subsequently amended, provides that the republic shall have a parliamentary type of government. It contains provisions for the protection of fundamental rights and freedomsa subject of particular importance because many of the inhabitants are short-term migrants ineligible for citizenship (defined in the constitution as being restricted to those of Nauruan or of Nauruan and Pacific islander parentage). Legislative power is vested in the parliament, composed of 18 members elected for a three-year term by Nauruan citizens who have attained the age of 20 years. Seven of the eight constituencies (representing 10 out of 14 districts) return two members each, and the constituency of Ubenide (representing 4 districts) returns four members. The first woman was elected in 1986.

Executive power is exercised by the president, who also fulfills the residual duties of head of state; he is elected by parliament and is assisted by a cabinet, which he appoints. The next parliamentary elections were to be held no later than May 2006; parliament's next vote for president was scheduled for 2007.

In 2005, the parliament undertook a review of the Nauru's constitution. One goal of the review was to reduce the frequencies of votes of no-confidence and the resulting political instability.

POLITICAL PARTIES

There have been ad hoc political parties since independence in Nauru, but politics is generally based on personal loyalties and occasionally on issue-based coalitions. After DeRoburt's reelection in 1987, Kennan Adeang formed the Democratic Party of Nauru, which aimed to curb the power of the presidency. Eight members of parliament joined the party. As of 2003, the Nauru Party was headed by Bernard Dowiyogo, and the Center Party was headed by former president Kinza Clodumar.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

Until 1999, the Nauru Island Council was elected from the same constituencies as parliament and acted as a local government, providing public services. The council was dissolved in 1999; all assets and liabilities became vested in the Government of Nauru.

Besides fulfilling the traditional functions of local government, the Nauru Local Government Council manages the Nauru Corporation, the Nauru Pacific Line, and is responsible for overseas investments.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

The constitution provides for a Supreme Court, with a chief justice presiding. Cases are also heard in the district court or family court. There are two other quasi-courts: the Public Service Appeal Board and the Police Appeal Board. The chief justice presides over both as chairman of the panel, with two members for each board.

The Supreme Court, which has original and appellate jurisdiction, is the supreme authority on the interpretation of the constitution. Appeals against decisions of the Supreme Court on certain matters go to the Appellate Court of Nauru, which is comprised of two judges. Cases also may be appealed to the High Court of Australia. Parliament cannot overturn court decisions.

The judiciary is independent of the executive. The constitution guarantees protection of fundamental human rights which in practice are generally respected.

Many cases never reach the formal legal system. Most of the conflicts are resolved by the traditional reconciliation process.

ARMED FORCES

Nauru has no armed forces. Although there is no formal agreement, Australia ensures its defense. There is a police force of 60 officers under civilian control.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Nauru was admitted to the United Nations on 14 September 1999 and participates in ESCAP and several other nonregional specialized agencies, such as the FAO, ICAO, ITU, UNESCO, and the WHO. The nation belongs to the Pacific Island Forum, the South Pacific Commission, the ACP Group, the South Pacific Regional Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement (Sparteca), the Asian Development Bank, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), and the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission. The country is a special member of the Commonwealth of Nations, taking part in some Commonwealth functions but not represented at heads-of-government conferences.

In environmental cooperation, Nauru is part of the South Pacific Regional Environmental Program, the Basel Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the London Convention, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change, and Desertification.

ECONOMY

The economy of Nauru has long been dependent on phosphates. Estimates are that the deposits will be exhausted within a few years. In anticipation of this event, substantial amounts of phosphate income are invested in trust funds to help cushion the transition. By 1987, an estimated $450 million had been set aside to support the country after the phosphates run out. At one point, the value of the Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trusts reached $1 billion, making Nauruans on paper the richest people in the Pacific. However, dividends from the trusts have declined sharply since 1990 and the government has been borrowing from the trusts to finance fiscal deficits. In addition, a 1994 audit of the trust revealed that about $8.5 million had been lost due to bad investments and corruption.

By 1996 deficit spending had caused the country to default on servicing its external debt and was also creating problems in meeting the government payroll. A strict government austerity program reduced government spending 38% in 199899. Money has been lost through failed investments in property, aviation and fishing, but the evidence is indirect since there is no public accounting. In 2002, Air Nauru Pacific service was grounded because of arrears on bills to Qantas maintains. The air service is vital for food supply. Telephone service has also been occasionally cut because of unpaid bills.

The government has attempted to use the now-dwindling revenue from phosphates to diversify the island's economy, mainly through overseas investment and the development of a national airline and shipping line. Aside from phosphates, Nauru has few domestic resources, and many food products and virtually all consumer manufactures are imported. The government subsidizes imports so that food and other necessities are available at nominal cost. Nauru's economy is very weak and increasingly dependent on Australia. Offshore financial operations were begun in 1993, but the economy suffered in that year due to a major financial scandal. In 2000, the OECD listed Nauru one of 38 "noncooperative" tax havens. In 2002, it was one of only seven jurisdictions that remained on the list for not taking sufficient corrective action. A temporary infusion of funds was promised through Nauru's agreement with Australia to act as an offshore location for the processing of asylum seekers. For the use of its land, Nauru has been promised up to a$30 million.

There is no recent data to highlight economic trends in the country, but the need to create an alternative economy to phosphate extraction was crucialNauru was facing serious problems in the transition period. In 2005, the housing, labor (almost 90% of the working force was unemployed), and hospitals situation deteriorated. Australia had to step in to help the economy stay afloat.

INCOME

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Nauru's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $60.0 million. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $5,000. The average inflation rate in 1993 was -3.6%.

LABOR

The workforce is primarily engaged in the state-owned phosphate industry, with public administration, education and transportation providing employment as well. Only about 1% of employment is in the private sector. As of 1992, there were some 3,000 guest workers in Nauru, mostly from Vanuatu or Kiribati. Unemployment is virtually nonexistent. There were no trade unions or labor organizations as of 2002. The right to strike is neither protected nor prohibited. Collective bargaining does not take place.

In 2002, the annual minimum wage in the public sector was us$6,562 for workers over 21 years of age. This provides an adequate standard of living for a family. The workweek for office employees is set at 36 hours, and for manual laborers the standard is 40 hours. The minimum age for employment is 17 years, although some younger children work in the few family-owned small operations. The government enforces health and safety standards in the workplace.

AGRICULTURE

Since the cultivated area is limited to about 200240 hectares (500600 acres), there is little commercial agriculture. The main crop is coconuts; in 2005, production amounted to 1,600 tons. Some vegetables are grown, mainly by the Chinese population.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

Pigs and chickens roam uncontrolled on the island; hence, there is no organized production. In 2005, there were an estimated 2,800 pigs.

FISHING

There is as yet no organized fishing industry on Nauru, although the government plans to develop fishing facilities. The Nauru Fishing Corp., formed in 1979, is owned by the Local Government Council. Fish are plentiful and consumption is high, since almost all meat has to be imported from Australia. The total catch in 2003 was 43 tons.

FORESTRY

There are no forests on Nauru. All building timber has to be imported.

MINING

High-grade phosphate rock was virtually Nauru's only natural resource, its only export commodity and leading industry, and the basis of the Nauruan economyGDP varied according to the world market price of phosphate. The government-owned Nauru Phosphate Corp. was the country's sole producer of phosphate rock, and the island nation's primary producer, employer, and exporter. Production of phosphate rock in 1998 was 487,000 tons, down from 613,000 in 1994. As of 2005, Nauru's phosphate rock reserves had become depleted. In 1998, Nauru also produced common clays, sand and gravel, and stone.

Phosphate rock was extracted from the surface mine on the central plateau in the island's interior, using mechanical shovels from between the coral pinnacles. Phosphate rock was trucked to a central storage pile and transported to storage hoppers by rail. After being crushed and dried, the rock was placed on conveyor belts to pass to the arm of two cantilevers, each about 60 m long, that projected out over the reef to waiting ships. All phosphate rock was exportedto New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, and South Koreaand the associated coral was used domestically for road aggregate.

In 1999, the government planned to launch a program to rehabilitate and develop the phosphate lands that have been mined for nearly 100 years, As of 1990, 61 million tons of phosphate had been mined. The plan was agreed to in 1994 with Australia and New Zealand, and the United Kingdom agreed to help Australia pay its us$73 million compensation package to Nauru for environmental damage; the rehabilitation would cost us$210 million over 23 years. Nauru's phosphate mine was the last active mine of three historic phosphate-producing islands of the Pacific. The other two, Makatea (in French Polynesia) and Banaba (formerly known as Ocean Island, in the Gilbert Islands group in the Republic of Kiribati), were depleted, respectively, in 1966 and 1979, making Nauru the sole Pacific Island producer.

ENERGY AND POWER

Nauru has no proven reserves of oil, natural gas, coal, or refining capacity. All fossil fuel needs are met by imports. In 2002, Nauru's demand for refined oil products and imports averaged 1,010 barrels per day. There were no imports or consumption of natural gas, or coal recorded for 2002.

A diesel oil generator to which nearly all buildings are connected produces electric power. In 2002, total installed electrical power capacity was 10,000 kW. Production that year came to 30 million kWh, of which 100% was from fossil fuels. Consumption of electricity in 2002 was 27.9 million kWh.

INDUSTRY

The phosphate industry is the only industry on the island. It is under the control of the Nauru Phosphate Corp., a statutory corporation that is responsible to the president of the republic in his capacity as minister for island development and industry. About 75% of the profit from phosphate sales is invested in long-term trust funds that have been established to take care of the Nauruans after phosphate deposits are depleted. By 2002, the primary deposits were largely exhausted and expensive to mine; the mining equipment was poorly maintained and the mining operation overstaffed.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Nauru has little advanced technology, and Nauruans must travel abroad, usually to Australia, for scientific training.

DOMESTIC TRADE

The Nauru Cooperative Society conducts most of the nation's retail trade. The island is completely dependent on imported goods; foodstuffs come mainly from Australia. A majority of the population is employed in the phosphate mining industry, which was the nation's primary export.

FOREIGN TRADE

Nauru's only export is phosphate rock. The value of exports fluctuates as world phosphate prices rise or decline. Imports consist of pretty much everything, including machinery and construction materials for the phosphate industry, food, fresh water (from Australia), fuel, and other necessities. Virtually all manufactured goods must be imported.

In 2004, exports totaled us$17 million (FOBFree on Board), while imports grew to us$20 million (CIFCost Insurance and Freight). Most of the exports went to South Africa (43.4%), Germany (20.7%), India (11.8%), Japan (7.2%), and Poland (4%). Imports primarily came from Australia (65.6%), Indonesia (5.4%), Germany (5.3%), and the United Kingdom (4.4%).

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS

When the phosphate mines were running at full capacity, Nauru had a strongly favorable balance of trade and investments abroad were substantial. There was no recent data to highlight its balance of payments, but it was likely that the situation was not as favorable as in past years.

BANKING AND SECURITIES

The government-owned Bank of Nauru was founded in 1976. The Commonwealth Savings Bank of Australia and the Bank of New South Wales have branches in Nauru. The only commercial bank in the country is the Jefferson Bank and Trust Co. (1980). Most of the income from phosphates is invested in long-term funds overseas.

There is no stock exchange.

INSURANCE

The Nauru Insurance Corp., founded in 1974, is the only licensed insurer and reinsurer on the island. It underwrites all classes of insurance, including aviation and marine.

PUBLIC FINANCE

Administrative costs in Nauru are met from the proceeds of phosphate sales, which are in decline as reserves approach exhaustion. In 1993, the governments of Nauru and Australia reached a $73 million out-of-court settlement as restitution for Nauruan lands ruined by Australian phosphate mining. This payment assisted the government (which relies almost entirely on phosphate receipts for revenue) in facilitating economic diversification. The fiscal year extends from 1 July to 30 June.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in fiscal year 1995/96, the most recent year for which statistics were available, Nauru's central government took in revenues of approximately $23.4 million and had expenditures of $64.8 million. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$41.4 million. Total external debt was $33.3 million.

TAXATION

There is no income or other tax in Nauru, although Parliament has power to impose taxes. In 2000, the OECD listed Nauru as one of 38 "uncooperative tax havens." In 2002, it was one of only seven countries that had not gotten removed from the list by taking some corrective action.

CUSTOMS AND DUTIES

Duties are payable only on imported cigarettes, tobacco, and alcoholic beverages.

FOREIGN INVESTMENT

Apart from the investment in the phosphate industry, now owned by the government of Nauru, there has been little investment on the island. The government of Nauru has large investments overseas in long-term funds financed from phosphate royalties. Nauru also has invested in commercial property development, notably a 53-story office building in Melbourne, Australia.

Plans were approved in 1985 to build an industrial, commercial, and residential complex in Honolulu and, with the help of Japanese companies, a 19-story, 450-room hotel on Guam. Nauru received us$6.7 million from the Japanese government to build the new Anibare Community Boat Harbor at Yaren, scheduled to open in the spring of 2000. In 200203, the government is scheduled to receive up to a$30 million for allowing Australia to use the island as a processing centre for asylum seekers.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Government policy is to exploit the phosphate deposits to the fullest extent for the highest returns. The government has diversified into aviation and shipping and plans to develop fishing and tourism. It acquired the Grand Pacific Hotel on the Fijian Island of Suva and, in 1993, undertook a f$18 million renovation of the facility. In 1993, Australia agreed to provide us$73 million in compensation for pre-independence mining of phosphate to aid in restoring the extensive areas damaged by it.

In December 1998 Nauru won approval for a $5 million loan from the Asian Development Bank to aid in implementing structural reforms, including privatization. A National Economic Summit was held in 1999, but the proceedings were not made public. The true state of the Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust Fund (NPRTF) is not known, nor are the reasons for its apparent substantial decline. In 2002 and 2003 the economy received a small boost from money paid by Australia for housing asylum seekers. Nauru remains on the OECD's list of uncooperative tax havens.

In 2005, Nauru was facing virtual bankruptcy after spending most of the money saved in the trust funds created to help the economy after the phosphates reserves were exhausted. In response, the government called a freeze on wages, a reduction in the number of public officials, and the closure of several overseas consulates.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Medical, dental, and hospital treatment and education are free. Other benefitsold age and disability pensions, widows' and sickness benefits, and child endowmentare administered by the Local Government Council.

The constitution guarantees women equal rights with men, although traditional social values still discourage many from pursuing careers. In particular, women face great social pressure to marry and raise families because Nauru's population was decimated in World War II due to massive removals by the Japanese. Women's educational and employment opportunities are severely limited by these traditional views on the roles of women, and there have been reports of educational scholarships being suspended for young women contemplating marriage. Domestic abuse is not prevalent, and the government treats reports of violent incidents in a serious manner.

Human rights are generally well respected.

HEALTH

There are two modern hospitals. One hospital serves phosphate industry employees; the other provides free medical treatment for the rest of the population. Patients who need specialized care are flown to Australia. In 2004, there were 149 physicians and 557 nurses per 100,000 people.

Tuberculosis, leprosy, diabetes, and vitamin deficiencies have been the main health problems, partly due to the switch to a Westernized diet. A national foot care education program was launched in 1992 to decrease the number of diabetic amputations. With modern facilities and treatments, many of these diseases have been brought under control. Cardiovascular disease has also been a major cause of illness and death.

Life expectancy as of 2005 was estimated at 62.73 years. The infant mortality rate was an estimated 9.95 per 1,000 live births in that year. The crude birth rate and overall mortality rate were estimated at, respectively, 26.6 and 7.1 per 1,000 people. The immunization rates for children under one year old were as follows: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, 74%; polio, 74%; measles, 74%; and tuberculosis, 93%.

There were no reported cases of polio or AIDS. Tuberculosis is rare.

HOUSING

Ownership of houses built for Nauruans under a housing scheme is vested in the Local Government Council, but some Nauruan homes are privately owned. Nearly all houses have electricity and newer homes have a greater number of amenities.

EDUCATION

Attendance at school is compulsory for Nauruan children from 5 to 16 years old. Two types of schools are available, both coeducational: those run by the government and those conducted by the Roman Catholic Church. Education is provided free by the government. Education on Nauru is available up to the intermediate level; higher education overseas, mainly in Australia, is assisted by the government in the form of competitive scholarships. There is also a university extension center affiliated with the University of the South Pacific.

In the early 1990s, Nauru had six preprimary and two primary schools, one secondary school, and a technical school, as well as a mission school. In 1998, there were about 2,000 students enrolled in primary schools and about 1,000 students enrolled in secondary schools. As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated 6.9% of total government expenditures. In 1991, the adult literacy rate was estimated at about 30.4%, with 47.4% for men and 14% for women.

LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

The Nauru Bureau of Statistics maintains a small library which serves as a depository site for the Asian Development Bank. Nauru has one small lending library. The Nauru Military Museum contains WWII artifacts and displays donated by Stan Gajda.

MEDIA

Communication with the outside world is maintained by a ground satellite station established in 1975, providing 24-hour telephone, telegraph, and telex services worldwide. A small telephone exchange, handling 2,000 telephones in 1996, provides on-island communication. In 2002, there were 1,900 mainline and 1,500 mobile phones in use throughout the country.

Government-owned Radio Nauru, the only radio station, broadcasts in English and Nauruan. Though there is no local news reporting; the station rebroadcasts new services from Radio Australia and the BBC. As of 1997 there was one television station in operation. In the same year, there were 374 radios in use per 1,000 population. Internet service is available, with about 300 users in 2002.

Most newspapers are imported. There are two regular publications: the private fortnightly newspaper, the Central Star News, and the government Gazette.

The constitution provides for free expression, and the government is said to support this in practice.

ORGANIZATIONS

The Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, and similar organizations function on the island. The Nauru National Youth Council was established in 1990 to encourage the development of various youth organizations. Sports associations are popular on the island. The Women's Information and News Agency monitors issues relating to women and government.

TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION

Nauru has great potential for the development of tourism, and the government is working on expanding the very limited industry. Its sandy beach, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, and scuba diving on the coral reef helps visitors enjoy the tropical climate and sea breezes. Island tours of the mines and the National Museum are also attractions. Popular sports are weightlifting, basketball, and badminton. A valid passport, visa, onward/return ticket, and proof of lodging are required to visit Nauru. Vaccinations are not mandatory, although recommended for typhoid.

FAMOUS NAURUANS

The best-known Nauruan is its first president, Hammer DeRoburt (192392), who led the Nauruan people to political independence; he was president from 1968 to 1976 and again from 1978 until his death in 1992 (except for a brief period in 1986).

DEPENDENCIES

Nauru has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Craig, Robert D. Historical Dictionary of Polynesia. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow, 2002.

Leibo, Steven A. East and Southeast Asia, 2005. 38th ed. Harpers Ferry, W.Va.: Stryker-Post Publications, 2005.

McDaniel, Carl N. Paradise for Sale: A Parable of Nature. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 2000.

Pollock, Nancy J. Nauru Bibliography. Wellington, N.Z.: Dept. of Anthropology, Victoria University of Wellington, 1994.

Weeramantry, C. G. Nauru: Environmental Damage under International Trusteeship. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

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Nauru

NAURU

Republic of Nauru

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

LOCATION AND SIZE.

Nauru is a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean, located just south of the equator, to the northeast of New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Nauru is only 21 square kilometers (8.1 square miles) in size, making it one of the smallest nations in the world. As an island country, Nauru has no land borders with other countries. It is roughly circular in shape and has about 30 kilometers (18 miles) of coastline. Comparatively, Nauru is about one-tenth the size of Washington, D.C. Nauru has no cities and its population lives in small settlements along the coast.

POPULATION.

Nauru's population was estimated at 11,845 in July 2000. About 58 percent of the total consists of indigenous Nauruans, a Pacific people of mixed Melanesian, Micronesian, and Polynesian ancestry. About 26 percent of the population consists of other Pacific peoples (mainly from the neighboring island countries of Kiribati and Tuvalu). Nauru's smaller minority populations are 8 percent Chinese and 8 percent European. The population growth rate was 2.4 percent in 1998. Nauru has no official population policy.

About 80 percent of Nauru's territory consists of land that has been mined for phosphate. This land is not inhabited and is not suitable for agriculture. Nauru's people live entirely in the fertile coastal areas, especially along the southwest coast.

Nauru's population is very young. About 41 percent of the total population is under the age of 15, while about 57 percent are between the ages of 15 and 64. Only about 2 percent of the population is above the age of 65.

OVERVIEW OF ECONOMY

Nauru's economy is dominated by the export of phosphate, a mineral used as a fertilizer. Supplies of phosphate are running out and are expected to last no more than 5 years. The government is encouraging new industries, such as offshore banking and tourism, to replace the declining phosphate industry.

Phosphate has been the basis of Nauru's economy since 1906, when the island was a German colony. The decay of marine microorganisms on an atoll (a coral island made up of a reef surrounding a lagoon), supplemented by thousands of years of bird droppings, have made Nauru into an island made almost entirely of phosphate. Phosphate has been exported mainly to Australia and New Zealand, where it improved the poor soils in those countries. After Germany's defeat in World War I, Nauru was made a trust territory by the League of Nations (and later the United Nations) and governed jointly by Australia, New Zealand, and Great Britain, although Australia effectively handled all of the administration. Nauru became independent in 1968.

During the colonial administration, a trust fund was established in which part of the income from phosphate sales was deposited. This fund was set up to provide the country with income when phosphate supplies run out. This trust fundthe Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trustas well as the phosphate mining company, are controlled by the Nauruan government.

Phosphate mining has made Nauru very rich and provides citizens with some of the highest per capita incomes in the Pacific region. But phosphate mining has also seriously damaged Nauru's environment. About 80 percent of the land consists of mined-over territory that is now un-inhabitable. Nauru's extreme dependence on phosphate means that it has to import nearly everything else, including food, fresh water, fuel, and all manufactured products.

As the country's reserves of phosphate have dwindled, the Nauruan government has encouraged other industries, especially tourism and off-shore banking, to locate in the country. Tourism is limited by Nauru's remote location and lack of major attractions. Off-shore banking has proved more successful, but has been marred by corruption and scandals involving money laundering . For example, the Russian mafia has been accused of using Nauruan banks to process its illegal revenues. Apart from Internet-based banking, there is almost no foreign investment in Nauru and no foreign investment policy.

POLITICS, GOVERNMENT, AND TAXATION

Nauru became an independent republic in 1968; it is the smallest republic in the world. Nauru is a member of the British Commonwealth and was admitted as a full member of the United Nations in 1999. Nauru generally follows the political system of Great Britain and has a unicameral (one chamber) Parliament with 18 members who hold office for 3 years. The Parliament elects the president, speaker, and deputy speaker. The cabinet, which consists of the president and 5 other members of Parliament, holds executive power. Members are elected as independents rather than from political parties. Nauru has had 8 changes of government since independence. Lately Nauru's government has become increasingly fractious, with a constant reshuffling of leaders and ministers.

The Nauruan government controls most aspects of the country's economy. The government owns most of the large businesses, including the Nauru Phosphate Corporation, the national airline, and the national bank. The government also controls the Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust, which collects and invests phosphate royalties. The fund is currently estimated to have a value somewhere between $100 million and $800 million, but no details are publicly released. There are no taxes in Nauru, and government activity is financed entirely from phosphate revenues. The government is the largest employer and provides free health care and education to all citizens. As the Nauruan government is extremely secretive, it is difficult to obtain exact figures for many aspects of the country's economy.

Nauru has no military, but the Nauruan police are responsible for law and order and for national defense. Nauru generally has good relations with neighboring island countries. Nauru has had disputes with France because of French nuclear testing in the South Pacific in 1995, and the passage of French ships carrying plutonium and nuclear waste through Nauruan waters in 1992 and 1997.

The Asian Development Bank is the only provider of external financial assistance, in the form of loans, to Nauru. This aid is used to help reform the Nauruan government, to make it more open, to help diversify the economy away from phosphate mining, and to provide for health care, sanitation, and education.

In 1994, Nauru agreed to an out-of-court settlement in a lawsuit it had brought against Australia, New Zealand, and Great Britain. The basis of the lawsuit was to seek compensation for environmental damage to the country during the pre-independence period when phosphate mining was controlled by these countries. Australia agreed to pay Nauru US$73 million as part of the settlement. Great Britain and New Zealand reimbursed Australia for a small portion of this payment.

Communications
Country Telephones a Telephones, Mobile/Cellular a Radio Stations a Radios a TV Stations a Televisions a Internet Service Providers c Internet Users c
Nauru 2,000 (1996) 450 (1994) AM 1; FM 0; shortwave 0 7,000 1 500 1 N/A
United States 194 M 69.209 M (1998) AM 4,762; FM 5,542; shortwave 18 575 M 1,500 219 M 7,800 148 M
Philippines 1.9 M 1.959 M (1998) AM 366; FM 290; shortwave 3 (1999) 11.5 M 31 3.7 M 33 500,000
Solomon Islands 8,000 658 AM 3; FM 0; shortwave 0 57,000 0 3,000 1 3,000
aData is for 1997 unless otherwise noted.
bData is for 1998 unless otherwise noted.
cData is for 2000 unless otherwise noted.
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [Online].

INFRASTRUCTURE, POWER, AND COMMUNICATIONS

Nauru has 30 kilometers (19 miles) of roads, of which about 80 percent are paved. The major road circles the island, while the others connect the phosphate mines with coastal settlements. The only rail facilities on Nauru are narrow-gauge and run 5.2 kilometers (3.2 miles) from the phosphate mines to a processing plant. Nauru has no port or harbor, but it does have a deep water anchorage and facilities for loading phosphate onto ships. Nauru operates its own airline, called Air Nauru, with 2 aircraft (Boeing 737s), based at Nauru's international airport. The airline connects Nauru with Australia and other Pacific and Asian countries. The government heavily subsidizes Air Nauru, and its future is questionable. Nauru has international telephone connections by satellite. The country is completely electrified and power is supplied by diesel generators, the fuel for which is imported.

ECONOMIC SECTORS

Nauru has only 2 important economic sectors: mining and financial services. Nauru's economy is dominated by phosphate mining, while Internet-based banking is an emerging sector. Nauru's agriculture is extremely small-scale and cannot provide enough food for the population. Despite being an island, Nauru has no real fishing industry. Apart from a few handicrafts, there is no manufacturing industry on Nauru.

AGRICULTURE

Agriculture accounts for only a tiny portion of Nauru's economic activity, making up only 5 percent of GDP in 1995. Apart from some market gardens, the only agricultural products of any significance are coconuts, in addition to chickens and pigs for domestic consumption. Because of environmental damage from phosphate mining, less than 20 percent of Nauru's land is suitable for agricultural production.

INDUSTRY

MINING.

Phosphate mining dominates Nauru's economy and has done so throughout the 20th century. The large phosphate mines are located in the center of the island, an area called Topside. Between 1920 and the country's independence in 1968, Nauru was administered by Australia, and the phosphate mines were owned and operated by the British Phosphate Commission (BPC). After independence, the Nauruan government took control of the phosphate mines and created the Nauru Phosphate Corporation. The Nauru phosphate deposits are among the world's richest. Phosphate was and continues to be exported, primarily to Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia. Phosphate supplies are expected to run out within 5 years.

Mining has had a severe environmental impact on the country. About 80 percent of the land area has been devastated after phosphate has been removed, leaving a landscape unsuitable for any other kind of industry or as residential land.

SERVICES

TOURISM.

The tourism sector in Nauru is very small, as the country does not offer many attractions and cannot compete with neighboring Pacific island countries. Nauru is remote and expensive to get to, and tourist facilities are extremely limited. There are only 2 hotels and no resorts. Nevertheless, the Nauruan government is attempting to develop the tourist industry to replace dependence on phosphate mining, but little has been done so far.

FINANCIAL SERVICES.

Nauru has developed a large Internet-based "offshore" banking industry, with more than 400 banks registered in the country (all of which are listed at the same address, that of the government-owned Nauru Agency Corporation). The advantages of banking in Nauru are the absence of taxes and banking secrecy. It costs only about US$5,680 to establish a bank in the country, and US$4,980 per year in registration fees after that. In 1998, Nauru was accused by the Russian government of accepting an estimated US$70 billion in deposits from the Russian mafia, and providing cover for organized crime (this money does not actually come to Nauru, but is electronically transferred through the Nauru banks). Other countries, including the United States, have also protested against Nauru's "laundering" of illegally-obtained funds. The United States even threatened to abolish Nauru's right to trade in U.S. dollars. In 1999, Nauru bowed to these international pressures and vowed to clean up its banking industry.

The government controls the Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust, which receives a share of the profits from phosphate sales. The assets of the fund have been estimated as being anywhere between $100 million and $800 million. Most of the assets consist of overseas real estate as well as stocks and bonds. Major real estate developments owned by the Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust include Nauru House, which is one of the largest office buildings in Melbourne, Australia, and hotel developments in Hawaii and Fiji. The secrecy of the Nauruan government prevents exact figures from being known, but most experts suggest that the lower end of the estimated asset range is more accurate. The trust fund has been the subject of numerous allegations of corruption and mismanagement.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Nauru's major trading partner is Australia. Other important partners are New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia. These countries purchase Nauruan phosphate for use as a fertilizer. Phosphate is Nauru's only export. Apart from some locally-produced foods (fruit, coconuts, chickens, and pigs), virtually everything is imported into Nauru, including most foods, fresh water, fuels, motor vehicles, building materials, and machinery. Most of these goods are imported from Australia.

MONEY

Nauru does not have its own currency, but uses the Australian dollar. By doing so, it gains the advantages of

Exchange rates: Nauru
Australian dollars per US$
Jan 2001 1.7995
2000 1.7173
1999 1.5497
1998 1.5888
1997 1.3439
1996 1.2773
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].

allying its economy with a stronger, larger neighbor. As Australia is Nauru's largest trading partner, using the Australian dollar simplifies trade because currencies do not need to be converted. On the other hand, Nauru's monetary policy is linked to changes in the Australian dollar, which has dramatically depreciated (decreased in value) against the U.S. dollar over the past several years. Inflation in Nauru has generally been quite low.

POVERTY AND WEALTH

Nauru's phosphate wealth has made it one of the richest countries in the Pacific and, on a per capita basis, one of the richest countries in the world. Revenues from phosphate mining provide an extensive system of social support for Nauruan citizens. Nauru is a true welfare state , and everything is provided by the Nauru government, including free health care and education. Many Nauruans also receive various kinds of payments from the government, including a share of mining royalties, compensation for damage to land, and unemployment insurance. This has led to complete dependence on government. Nauruans have been described as living a life of "luxury and leisure."

Residents' luxurious lifestyles have come with a high price, however. The change in the local diet, which is now rich in high-fat imported foods, has given Nauru one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world. Nauru also has

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Nauru N/A N/A N/A N/A 5,000
United States 28,600 30,200 31,500 33,900 36,200
Philippines 2,600 3,200 3,500 3,600 3,800
Solomon Islands 3,600 3,000 2,600 2,650 2,000
Note: Data are estimates.
SOURCE: Handbook of the Nations, 17th,18th, 19th and 20th editions for 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999 data; CIA World Factbook 2001 [Online] for 2000 data.

high rates of unemployment and alcoholism, among other health and social problems. Unemployment has not become a major concern, however, as the government, as well as family members, provide support for non-workers. According to the Asian Development Bank, there is no evidence of absolute poverty in Nauru. The entire population has access to safe drinking water, and 97 percent have access to good sanitation.

WORKING CONDITIONS

The government is the main employer in Nauru, and the private sector employs only 1 percent of the work-force. Major branches of government employment include the government-owned Nauru Phosphate Corporation and the administrative and bureaucratic branches of government. Many Nauruans do not work but receive assistance from the government. Much of the mining work is done by foreigners, especially temporary workers from China, the Philippines, and the neighboring island countries of Kiribati and Tuvalu. About 3,000 foreign workers live in Nauru. Non-Nauruans face many restrictions, including limitations on travel in and out of the country and limitations on their political rights.

Nauruan workers have the right to form unions, but none have yet been established. Women's access to employment is restricted by social conventions, and there are few women employed by government companies and no women in Parliament. Because the government takes care of all its citizens' needs, there has been little incentive for education in Nauru, and few Nauruans travel overseas to study at universities.

COUNTRY HISTORY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

1798. British whaler Captain John Fearn is the first European to visit Nauru and names it "Pleasant Island."

1888. Nauru annexed by Germany.

1899. Phosphate deposits discovered.

1906. Phosphate mining started by a British-Australian company.

1914. Nauru occupied by Australia after World War I begins.

1920. Australia begins administration of Nauru on behalf of the 3 trustees: Australia, New Zealand, and Great Britain.

1941. Nauru's industrial plant and housing facilities are completely destroyed by Japanese bombings.

1942. Nauru occupied by Japanese forces until 1945.

1951. A local government council set up to handle local affairs.

1968. Nauru achieves independence.

1994. Australia agrees to out-of-court settlement of US$73 million for environmental damage caused by phosphate mining during the Australian administration of the island.

1998. Russian mafia transfers an estimated US$70 billion to Nauru banks to evade taxes.

1999. Nauru bows to international pressures to control its banking industry; Nauru admitted as a member of the United Nations.

1999. Nauru government borrows US$100 million from General Electric Corporation; trust fund assets used as collateral.

2000. Fiji government seizes the Nauru-owned Grand Hotel in Fiji on the grounds that the Nauru government failed to develop the property as agreed.

2001. Nauru agrees to process more than 300 refugee "boat people" (mainly from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan) originally bound for Australia. Australian government agrees to give Nauru US$10 million and pay all costs of housing and feeding refugees. A refugee camp is built in the center of the island.

2001. Australia grounds Air Nauru's 2 Boeing 737 aircraft, claiming that the airline did not have sound management and that the Nauru airport was unsafe.

2001. Bank of Nauru closes because of lack of cash. Economists warn that the value of the Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust Fund may be approaching zero.

FUTURE TRENDS

Nauru's phosphate industry has reached the end of its life, with the last supplies expected to run out within a few years. It is unclear how the country will support itself once the mines close. Diversification into other economic sectors, such as tourism and offshore banking, have not proven especially successful. Tourism has remained small due to the country's remoteness and lack of attractions. Offshore banking has been marred by scandals involving money laundering and corruption, and the country has been heavily criticized for this. With its tarnished reputation, many foreign companies will be hesitant about investing in Nauru.

The imminent closure of Nauru's phosphate mines mean that the country will be left with no major source of income and with severe environmental problems. About 80 percent of the country has been ecologically devastated by mining, and this land is not suitable for agriculture or for residential property. The cost of rehabilitating the mined-out land is expected to cost at least US$200 million and it is unclear where this money will come from. Nauru's water supply is becoming more limited because of the depletion of natural underground reserves. The country already has to import drinking water.

Income from the country's Nauru Phosphate Royalties Trust will help tide over the country when the mines first close, but it will not be sufficient to replace the income from mining royalties themselves. The trust fund itself has been marred by allegations of corruption and mismanagement, and the ability of the trust fund to keep producing income is questionable.

With its mines closing and its environment in ruins, Nauru faces a grim future. The careful and wise investment of the country's remaining assetsin its trust fundis the most likely source of salvation for Nauru.

DEPENDENCIES

Nauru has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Asian Development Bank. "Country Performance Assessment:Nauru." <http://www.adb.org/Documents/CAPs/NAU/0100 .asp>. Accessed December 2000.

CountryWatch. "Country Review: Nauru." <http://www.countrywatch.com>. Accessed February 2001.

Hanson Cooke Ltd. "The Republic of Nauru." <http://www.earth.nwu.edu/people/emile/nauru.html>. Accessed December 2000.

Lal, Brij V., and Kate Fortune, eds. The Pacific Islands: An Encyclopedia. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 2000.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. "World Factbook 2000: Nauru." <http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/nr.html>. Accessed December 2000.

Viviani, Nancy. Nauru: Phosphate and Political Progress. Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1970.

Weeramantry, Christopher. Nauru: Environmental Damage Under International Trusteeship. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Michael Pretes

CAPITAL:

No official capital, but the Yaren District houses the government offices.

MONETARY UNIT:

Nauru uses the Australian dollar (A$). One Australian dollar equals 100 cents. There are coins of 2 dollars, 1 dollar, 50 cents, 20 cents, 10 cents, and 5 cents. There is no 1 cent coin. Banknotes come in denominations of 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5 dollars.

CHIEF EXPORTS:

Phosphate.

CHIEF IMPORTS:

Food, fuel, manufactured goods, building materials, machinery.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:

US$201.3 million (1999 est.).

BALANCE OF TRADE:

Exports: US$19 million (1997). Imports: US$17.2 million (1996).

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Nauru

Nauru

ETHNONYMS: Navodo, Nawodo, Pleasant Island

Orientation

Identification. Nauru is an independent republic, an associate member of the British Commonwealth, and a member of the South Pacific Commission and the South Pacific Forum. The indigenous term for the island is Nauru, but early European visitors gave it the name of "Pleasant Island," which was used briefly.

Location. The single raised coral island of Nauru is located in the center of the Pacific basin, at 0°25 S, 166°56 E. It has a narrow fringing reef that drops off very steeply to the ocean floor. A fertile belt some 150-300 meters wide above the shoreline encircles the island. On the inland side a coral cliff rises to a height up to 300 meters above sea level; this central plateau once bore the richest deposit of phosphate rock in the Pacific, but this deposit is almost mined out, leaving stark coral pinnacles.

Demography. At the last census in 1983 the Nauruan population was 4,964, with another 2,134 residents from Kiribati and Tuvalu and 263 Europeans, almost all employed by the Nauru Phosphate Commission. Since the previous census in 1977 the proportion of Nauruans has increased from 57 percent to 62 percent. Nauruans have a positive-growth population policy partly because of a series of declines in the past, including reduction to 589 persons during World War II.

Linguistic Affiliation. Nauruan is classified as an isolate within the Micronesian Family of Austronesian languages. It contains many Kiribati words, but it has deviant features that do not fit easily with neighboring Micronesian or Polynesian languages. Most Nauruans also speak English.

History and Cultural Relations

Little is known of Nauruan prehistory except what is suggested by myth and legend. Tradition holds that Nauru was settled by Tabuarik, who came from Kiribatias did subsequent boatloads of Kiribati peopleand took over the island from a small group living there. In more recent times the Island was visited by whalers and escaped convicts from Norfolk Island and Australia. In 1886, an Anglo-German declaration assigned Nauru to Germany, who administered the island until 1914; after World War I the island became a League of Nations mandate under Australian administration. Following World War II, when the Japanese occupied the Island, Nauru was a United Nations trusteeship administered by Australia until 1968 when it became an independent republic. Its economic history is based on the discovery of phosphate in 1899, the mining of which commenced in 1906. Beginning in 1919 the British Phosphate Commissioners (BPC) administered the mining operation and took proportionate shares in the phosphate mined. The BPC initially paid those Nauruans whose land was mined a royalty of one half-penny per ton of phosphate shipped. Inadequate returns to Nauruans for their phosphate has been a contentious issue for which Nauruan leaders have sought redress. Since independence the Nauru Phosphate Corporation has sold the phosphate on the open market for high returns, and Nauru has taken a positive lead in Pacific island affaire, choosing to share some of its wealth through airline and shipping links with countries that have limited communication networks.

Settlements

All residences are in one of twelve districts located in the narrow coastal belt, except for one village beside Buada Lagoon in the interior. The administrative center and contract worker housing, together with some Nauruan housing, are concentrated in the southwest corner of the island. Formerly housing was provided free by the government from phosphate royalties, but some individuals used their own phosphate income to build larger, more elaborate houses. Housing styles are thus varied but reminiscent of those found in any Western metropolitan country. In each district there is a primary school and at least one small store and a gas station. There are two main churches as well as three smaller chapels. The districts are linked by a road that encircles the island, with side roads serving the special housing areas. The interior village around Buada Lagoon is linked by road to the coastal area, with a branch road serving the current location of mining. This interior road network is decreasing as the phosphate is taken out and only the coral pinnacles remain.

Economy

Subsistence and Commercial Activities. Phosphate mining is now the base of the economy, though copra was the first source of cash before 1906 when mining commenced. Phosphate royalties have been invested both by individuals and by the government against the time when mining ends. Nauruans' income is derived mainly from these royalties, but also from employment and pensions. About half of the Nauruan population is privately employed or works in the administrative arm of government, teaching, or NPC administration. All consumer goods are imported to Nauru, mainly from Australia.

Industrial Arts. Several Nauruans have opened repair shops for cars and electrical appliances, based on some training gained in Australia and local apprenticeship. The expertise for mining operations is still largely in the hands of non-Nauruans.

Trade. Phosphate took over from copra in 1906 as the main source of trade income, and since independence this has increased tenfold. The Nauru Cooperative Society, formed in 1923 as the major controller of imports of foods and general merchandise, has been superseded by the Nauru Corporation, which is controlled by the Nauru Local Government Council. In addition there are a number of small stores in town run by Chinese who employ young Kiribati and Tuvalu girls as shop assistants. Nauruans take trips to Australia or Fiji to make major purchases.

Division of Labor. Formerly men were in charge of fishing while women cared for the household and children and made handicrafts. Today women's and men's tasks are much less differentiated, with both sexes holding paid jobs or assisting with household maintenance. Some men still go fishing, but mainly as sport. Kiribati men fish from canoes and sell their produce on the island.

Land Tenure. Nauruans hold land by virtue of being born of Nauruan parents; non-Nauruans cannot hold land. Land is passed on in named parcels from a parent to all children, such inheritance being recorded with the Nauru Lands Board. Thus individual Nauruans hold rights in several parcels but some of these shares may be very small. Those rights are the basis on which compensation for mining is paid. In addition to land, Nauruans also own rights to fishing places, lagoons, useful trees, goods, songs, and dances.

Kinship

Kin Groups and Descent. Every Nauruan belongs to an extended kin group consisting of both mother's and father's relatives as the largest affiliation. In addition a Nauruan is born into the mother's clan group. Formerly there were twelve named clans but today only ten exist, the main function of which is to regulate marriage.

Kinship Terminology. The system used is basically of the Hawaiian type, with classificatory terminology distinguishing generations and mother's relatives from father's.

Marriage and Family

Marriage. A couple intending to marry must be from different clan groups, and they must seek approval of their respective district councillors. Most marriages take place in church though today there are a few common-law marriages. Divorce is uncommon, but separation is more frequent, especially for Catholic couples. The birth of a child must be registered if the child is to receive the rights of being Nauruan, even if the birth takes place outside of Nauru.

Domestic Unit. The family unit consists of a wide group of relatives on both the father's and mother's side. Adoption is relatively common, especially by a Nauruan who has no children of his or her own. If accepted by the community, an adopted relative receives the same rights to land and residence as does a blood relative. A Nauruan household is likely to comprise an older couple with one or more married children and grandchildren, for an average size of eight persons per household.

Inheritance. Rights to land, useful trees, goods, songs, dances, and all other possessions are passed on from parents to all children, both natural and adopted.

Socialization. Children are much loved and treated with care and affection by both parents and all members of the Domestic unit. Schooling is highly valued by parents, who may make financial sacrifices to send daughters and sons to secondary schools in Australia and New Zealand. Children are raised to think of themselves as Nauruans and to speak the Nauruan language.

Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. Nauruan society used to have three status groups: the Temonibe, the Amengename, and the Itsio. The first two were landholding groups, while the Itsio consisted of those who sought the protection of a Temonibe. Membership in the first two groups was by birth. The Temonibe were very highly respected and usually owned more land. They took on leadership in war or in large economic undertakings, but they were not chiefs. Today these three status groups are no longer significant.

Political Organization. The modern Republic of Nauru has an elected parliament of eighteen members, headed by a president. The councillors are elected from each district, as are members of the parliament. District chiefs were an innovation of European administration in 1927, and they gained significance when the Nauru Local Government Council (NLGC) was formed in 1951. Nowadays the NLGC controls most internal affairs.

Social Control and Conflict. Informal control is still maintained within Nauruan families, but formal control is in the hands of the Nauru police force and the judiciary, which consists of a supreme court, a chief justice (based in Melbourne, Australia), and district and family courts.

Religion and Expressive Culture

Religious Beliefs. Nauruans had their own traditional cosmology with beliefs in spirits and gods such as Tabuarik, who was represented in a stone now removed by mining activities. Family ancestors were honored with food offerings on an altar outside each family homestead. The centenary of the landing of the first London Missionary Society representatives was celebrated in 1987, and today most Nauruans are members of either the Nauruan Congregational church (60 percent) or the Roman Catholic church (33 percent). A breakaway Protestant church was formed in 1977 under the American Pentecostal church, but it has not drawn many adherents from the two established churches.

Religious Practitioners. Five Nauruans are ordained as pastors of the Congregational church, the younger ones having trained at Pacific Theological College in Fiji. The Catholic priest is appointed from Rome.

Ceremonies. Independence Day is celebrated on January 31; and "Amram Day" is observed in October to recognize the important day in 1933 when a Mrs. Amram gave birth to the 1,500th Nauruan. In addition, church feasts, marriages, and deaths are celebrated. Most festivities are marked with elaborate food sharing.

Arts. Weaving and other traditional arts are no longer practiced due to the lack of materials.

Medicine. Two hospitals serve the needs of Nauruans and other residents, but if other services are required patients are transported to Australia. Filariasis, leprosy, and tuberculosis are under control, but Nauruans have been noted as having a high incidence of diabetes and glucose intolerance.

Death and Afterlife. Funerals are conducted according to the faith of the deceased. A Nauruan is buried in the cemetery of the district to which he or she belonged. Such funerals are marked by feasts.

See also Kiribati, Tuvalu

Bibliography

Macdonald, Barrie (1988). In Pursuit of the Sacred Trust. New Zealand Institute of International Affairs Occasional Paper no. 3. Auckland.

Pollock, Nancy J. (1987). Nauru Report to Commission for Rehabilitation of Nauru. Melbourne: Government Printer.

Viviani, Nancy (1970). Nauru: Phosphate and Political Progress. Canberra: Australian National University Press.

Wedgwood, Camilla (1936). "Report on Research Work in Nauru Island, Central Pacific." Oceania 6:359-391; 7:1-33.

NANCY J. POLLOCK

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Nauru

NAURU

Republic of Nauru

Major City:
No official capital; government offices in Yaren District

INTRODUCTION

The original inhabitants of NAURU came from a mixture of people from Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia. Nauru remained fairly isolated until the early 19th century, when it became a base for American whalers. In the late 19th century the island came under German administration, which discovered the island's immense phosphate reserves and developed them. In 1914 Nauru was surrendered to Australia. Nauru was made a League of Nations mandate of the British Empire in 1919, and was occupied by the Japanese and bombed by the Allies during World War II. In 1947 it became a trust territory of the United Nations, administered by Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Nauru became the world's smallest independent republic on January 31, 1968. Nauru's economy relies entirely on exports from phosphate mining. A century of mining, however, has left the landscape barren, and phosphate reserves are all but exhausted. Profits from the phosphate industry have been invested abroad for when the phosphate runs out. Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom have agreed to compensate Nauru with $73 million for the loss of the island's topsoil that occurred from phosphate mining during the years of the League of Nations mandate and United Nations trusteeship.

MAJOR CITY

Since it is so small, Nauru has no major city. The YAREN DISTRICT , on the southwest part of the island, is the main distribution area for goods and the center of the island's government. In 2000, the estimated population was 10,000. Many residents go shopping in Yaren once a week. The government-owned Nauru Phosphate Corp. is the primary employer. Others work in public administration and education. There is a marina. Nauru's own airline, Air Nauru, has scheduled flights to Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane), Pohnpei and Guam in Micronesia, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Manila in the Philippines.

Recreation and Entertainment

Nauru lies in the middle of some excellent fishing grounds, with water depths rapidly plunging to 2,000 feet just off the edge of the island's shores and reefs. The island's waters are becoming popular with Australian anglers, who come looking for marlin, sailfish, wahoo, yellowfin tuna, and dolphin-fish. The ocean floor's precipitous dropoff makes it possible to catch large game fish within 1,000 feet from the shore. The best months for fishing are from April to December.

Nauru has virtually no tourism. There is only one hotel in the country, the Menen Hotel, which is perched on the edge of the ocean. For many years the hotel has served as the meeting place for residents and visitors. The hotel was recently renovated and expanded to international standards, and now features bars and restaurants, a gaming room, and tennis courts. The Parliament House, the seat of Nauru's government, is in the Yaren District.

COUNTRY PROFILE

Geography and Climate

Nauru is an oval-shaped coral island with an area of just under 8.2 square miles in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. Nauru is one of the smallest nations in the world, and its nearest neighbor is the Kiribati island of Banabar, some 180 miles away. The island has a coastline of about 18.6 miles.

There is a relatively fertile belt of soil 500-1,000 feet wide that encircles the island. From the lowlands, coral cliffs rise to a central plateau some 200 feet above sea level. Buada Lagoon, in the southern end of the central plateau, covers 300 acres and is a permanent (often braskish) lake.

Nauru's position just 37 miles south of the equator gives the island a hot and humid tropical climate, but the landscape is arid and desolate.

Population

The population of Nauru is approximately 12,000 (2001 est.) Most Nauruans live along the coastal fringes in one of the traditional districts. The majority of the inhabitants are Nauruans, a mixture of Micronesian, Melanesian, and Polynesian origins. The remainder are Chinese and immigrants from Kiribati and Tuvalu, Australian and New Zealander employees, and some Filipino contract workers. The majority of the population is Protestant, while over one-third is Roman Catholic. Nauruan is the predominant language, but English is widely spoken and understood.

Government

Nauru adopted its constitution on January 29, 1968, and amended on it on May 17, 1968. The country was established as a republic with a parliamentary system of government. The president is head of state as well as head of government. The president is elected by the parliament from among its members every three years. The president serves as prime minister, appointing four or five members of parliament to form the cabinet. Cabinet ministers, including the president, take charge of the various government departments and are held accountable by parliament. The unicameral parliament consists of eighteen members, who are elected every three years by resident Nauru citizens over the age of twenty. A speaker and a deputy speaker are chosen from the parliament's members. A Supreme Court was established by the constitution and a District Court and a Family Court also operate. In most cases, the highest court of appeal is the High Court of Australia.

Nauru's flag has a blue background divided horizontally by a narrow gold band, symbolizing the equator. Below the band is a white 12-pointed star, representing the island's 12 original tribes.

Arts, Science, Education

Education is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16. The government subsidizes the schools, and some schools are run by the government while others are operated by the Roman Catholic Church. The government provides higher education through competitive scholarships to attend university overseas, usually in Australia. There is also an extension center of Fiji's University of the South Pacific.

Commerce and Industry

Despite the lack of agriculture, the per capita income of Nauru is among the highest in the world, and the standard of living is much higher than on other Pacific Islands. Nauru's economy has been based on the export of phosphates (a mineral used to make fertilizers). Nauru is the only remaining producer of the three historic phosphate-producing islands of the South Pacific. The other two were Banaba (in the Gilbert Islands of Kiribati) and Makatea (French Polynesia). Phosphate exports have given Nauruans one of the highest living standards in the world. There are no naturally-occurring fruits and vegetables, just a few coconut palms and scrub bushes imported by visitors. Food is not scarce, however, and plenty of fresh fish is caught on the island to make up the dietary mainstay along with canned meat and vegetables.

Transportation

Nauru International Airport is located about half a mile northwest of Yaren District's center. Traffic moves on the left in Nauru. The main road circling the island is paved, but the remaining roads are unpaved. Animals and pedestrians walking in the road make night driving on unlit secondary roads hazardous. There are fewer than 2,000 motor vehicles, and a school bus service is the only form of local transport. The only railway is a 2.4-mile shuttle used to carry phosphates.

Communications

A ground satellite station has provided telecommunications service with the outside world since 1975. There is also a local telephone exchange to handle local calls. Radio Nauru and Nauru Television are operated by the government. The Central Star News is a private newspaper published twice a month. Nauru Bulletin is a weekly published by the Department of Island Development and Industry.

Health

Nauru has two hospitals, with over 200 beds, and about ten resident physicians. Tuberculosis, leprosy, diabetes, and vitamin deficiencies have been the main health problems, partly due to a Westernized diet. Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of illness and death.

LOCAL HOLIDAYS

Jan. 1 New Year's Day

Jan. 31 Independence Day

Mar/Apr. Good Friday*

Mar/Apr. Easter*

May 17 Constitution Day

Oct. 26 Angam Day

Dec. 25 Christmas

Dec. 26 Boxing Day

*variable

NOTES FOR TRAVELERS

A passport, visa, onward/return ticket, and proof of hotel bookings (or sponsorship from a resident of Nauru) are required for tourists. Tourist visas are issued for a maximum of thirty days. Travelers transiting with valid ticket/onward destination do not require a visa, provided that the first connecting flight departs within three days of arrival in Nauru. Business visitors must have a visa and a local sponsor. Nauru collects a departure tax that must be paid in cash and in Australian dollars. For more information on entry/exit requirements, travelers may wish to contact the Nauru Consulate General in Melbourne, Australia at telephone (613) 9653-5709, fax (613) 9654-4738.

Nauru's customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Nauru of items such as foodstuffs, animals, and pornographic materials. It is advisable to contact the Nauru Consulate General in Melbourne, Australia for specific information regarding customs requirements.

There is no U.S. Embassy or diplomatic post in Nauru. Assistance for U.S. citizens in Nauru is provided by the U.S. Embassy in Fiji, which is located at 31 Loftus Street in Fiji's capital city of Suva. The telephone number is (679) 314-466; the fax number is (679)300-081. Americans may register with the U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji and obtain up-to-date information on travel and security in Nauru from the Embassy. Information may also be obtained by visiting the Embassy's home page at http://www.amembassy-fiji.gov.

RECOMMENDED READING

Petit-Skinner, Solange. The Nauruans. San Francisco, CA: Macduff Press, 1981.

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Nauru

Nauru (näōō´rōō), officially Republic of Nauru, atoll and independent republic (2005 est. pop. 13,000), c.8 sq mi (20 sq km), central Pacific, just south of the equator and west of the Gilbert Islands of Kiribati. It was formerly called Pleasant Island. There is no official capital, but government offices are located in the Yaren District (1996 est. pop. 600) in the southwestern part of the atoll. There is a narrow band of habitable land along the coast; the island's interior is environmentally devastated as a result of phosphate mining.

Nauruans (nearly 60% of the population) are predominantly Polynesian with a mix of Micronesian and Melanesian strains. There is a large Pacific Islander minority and smaller groups of Chinese and Europeans. Nearly all the inhabitants are Christians; two thirds are Protestant and one third are Roman Catholic. The official language is Nauruan, but English is commonly used in government and commerce.

Nauru was important for its high-grade phosphate deposits, now depleted, and more marginal deposits are now being mined. Nauru has few other resources and must import virtually all necessities, mostly from Australia. South Africa and South Korea are also important trading partners. The country placed much of its phosphate revenue in trust funds to ease the transition away from mining, but bad investments and corruption led to a serious depletion of the fund in the 1990s. In an attempt to generate income, Nauru became an unregulated offshore banking center, gaining notoriety for money laundering. It abandoned the industry in Mar., 2003, under the threat of crippling economic sanctions by the United States, which regarded Nauru banks as potential havens for terrorist financing. By mid-2004 Nauru faced bankruptcy, and the remaining assets of the trust, mostly Australian property, were seized to pay off its debts. In July, 2004, Australian officials took charge of the country's finances.

Nauru is governed under the constitution of 1968. The president, who is both head of state and head of government, is elected by the unicameral Parliament for a three-year term. The 18 members of Parliament are popularly elected, also for three-year terms. Administratively the country is divided into 14 districts.

History

Nauru was visited in 1798 by the British and annexed in 1888 by Germany. Occupied during World War I by Australian forces, it was placed (1920) under a League of Nations mandate to Australia. Throughout World War II the island was occupied by the Japanese. Nauru was administered by Australia, Britain, and New Zealand under a UN trusteeship until 1968, when it became one of the world's smallest independent states. In 1993, Australia agreed to pay Nauru about $75 million for environmental damage caused by mining before independence. The country also has received aid from Australia in exchange for its acceptance (beginning in 2001) of Afghan, Iraqi, and other Asian refugees that Australia refused to admit; in addition, the cost of running the detention center is entirely underwritten by Australia. The operation of and conditions at the center became a subject of controversy in 2014 when the government did not permit international inspectors to visit.

Bernard Dowiyogo, who became president for a seventh time in Jan., 2003, died in Mar., 2003. Ludwig Scotty was elected president in May but was ousted in a no-confidence vote in August. René Harris, a former president, replaced Scotty, but Scotty returned to office in June, 2004, after Harris was similarly ousted. In elections in October, called after the parliament failed to pass a reform budget, Scotty's supporters secured a majority and he was reelected. Scotty remained in office after elections in Aug., 2007, but was replaced by Marcus Stephen after a no-confidence vote the following December. Parliament was split, however, between Stephen's supporters and opponents, and after several months of deadlock, Stephen declared a state of emergency and called a new election, which resulted in a majority for his government.

By 2010, the parliament was again divided between his supporters and opponents, and a snap election in April returned all members to office, continuing the deadlock. A new election in June led to the loss of an opposition seat, but the deadlock continued and Stephen again assumed emergency powers. The deadlock was finally resolved in November, and Stephen was reelected president. A year later, allegations of corruption led to his resignation. Frederick Pitcher was elected to succeed him, but he lost a confidence vote within days and was replaced by Sprent Dabwido. Dabwido's cabinet was roiled by resignations and a dismissal in Feb., 2013, and parliament was ultimately dissolved. After new elections in June, Baron Waqa was elected president. The country faced a judicial crisis in early 2014 after the government effectively exiled key members of its Australian-staffed judiciary. The move was sparked by a stay of a deportation order, and prevented a judicial oversight of the government, including its seizure of a profitable foreign-owned commercial property. Subsequently a number of opposition members of parliament were suspended for talking to the foreign media about the crisis.

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Nauru

Nauru

Official name: Republic of Nauru

Area: 21 square kilometers (8.1 square miles)

Highest point on mainland: Unnamed central plateau (61 meters/202 feet)

Lowest point on land: Sea level

Hemispheres: Southern and Eastern

Time zone: 11:30 p.m. = noon GMT

Longest distances: 5.6 kilometers (3.5 miles) from north-northeast to south-southwest; 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from west-northwest to east-southeast

Land boundaries: None

Coastline: 30 kilometers (18.6 miles)

Territorial sea limits: 22 kilometers (12 nautical miles)

1 LOCATION AND SIZE

Nauru is an oval-shaped island in the western Pacific Ocean, 42 kilometers (26 miles) south of the equator. The closest neighboring land is the island of Banaba, which is part of the country of Kiribati. With a total area of 21 square kilometers (8.1 square miles), Nauru is the smallest nation in Asia, roughly one-tenth the size of Washington, D.C.

2 TERRITORIES AND DEPENDENCIES

Nauru has no territories or dependencies.

3 CLIMATE

Nauru has a tropical climate that is tempered by sea breezes. The westerly monsoon season occurs from November to February. Temperatures range from 23°C to 32°C (75°F to 91°F). Nauru experiences widely variable rainfall, ranging from 31 centimeters (12 inches) to as much as 457 centimeters (180 inches). Rainfall provides most of the nation's water supply.

4 TOPOGRAPHIC REGIONS

A coastal plain at the perimeter of the island gradually rises to a fertile section no wider than 275 meters (902 feet). A coral cliff rises from this belt to a central plateau.

5 OCEANS AND SEAS

Nauru is located in the west-central Pacific Ocean.

Seacoast and Undersea Features

The island is surrounded by a coral reef, which is exposed at low tide and dotted with pinnacles. The reef is bounded seaward by deep water.

Sea Inlets and Straits

Nauru has a smooth coastline without significant indentations.

Coastal Features

Beaches line the coral reef that encircles Nauru.

6 INLAND LAKES

The permanent, often brackish Buada Lagoon (Lake Buada) is the only lake of significance on the island.

7 RIVERS AND WATERFALLS

Nauru has no rivers.

8 DESERTS

There are no deserts on Nauru.

9 FLAT AND ROLLING TERRAIN

Nauru's coastal strip consists of sandy beaches fringed by palm trees.

10 MOUNTAINS AND VOLCANOES

There are no mountains on Nauru.

11 CANYONS AND CAVES

Nauru's coral reefs include a large underwater grotto known as the Cave. A popular spot for divers, the Cave is some 30 meters (98 feet) below sea level.

12 PLATEAUS AND MONOLITHS

A central plateau of phosphate-bearing rock comprises four-fifths of Nauru's landmass, making the nation one of the largest phosphate-rock islands in the Pacific.

13 MAN-MADE FEATURES

The landscape does not include any prominent man-made features.

DID YOU KNOW?

Nauru and the other fifteen low-lying countries of the Pacific Islands Forum face the environmental crisis of rising sea levels due to global warming. The consequences of climate change include destruction of freshwater sources, more intense storms, loss of crops to seawater, and coastal erosion.

14 FURTHER READING

Books

McDaniel, Carl N. Paradise for Sale: Back to Sustainability. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

U.S. Department of State. "Background Notes, Nauru." Washington, DC: Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of Public Communication, Editorial Division, U.S. Department of State, 1988.

Web Sites

Lonely Planet World Guide, Destination Nauru. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/pacific/nauru/ (accessed April 9, 2003).

Ocean 98: Welcome to Nauru. http://www.ocean98.org/seahnaur.htm (accessed April 9, 2003).

Pacific Island Travel. Nauru. http://www.pacificislandtravel.com/nauru/introduction.html (accessed April 9, 2003).

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Nauru

Nauru

Basic Data

Official Country Name: Republic of Nauru
Region (Map name): Oceania
Population: 11,845
Language(s): Nauruan, English
Literacy rate: N/A

This Oceanic island, located south of the Marshall Islands, became the world's smallest independent republic when it achieved independence from Australia in 1968. It joined the United Nations in 1999. The President holds dual roles as chief of state and head of government, heading a unicameral, 18-seat Parliament. The official language is Nauruan, a distinct Pacific Island language, but English is widely spoken and often used in government and business. The population is approximately 12,000. Nauru is one of the three great phosphate rocks of the Pacific. Accordingly, the country's economy has been dependent on phosphate mining for nearly 100 years. The industry has given Nauruans a high standard of living, but reserves are quickly dwindling, demand is waning, and the extraction process has severely damaged the land, stripping as much as four-fifths of the country's total area. In an effort to replace mining, the government is encouraging the development of the offshore banking industry.

The government of Nauru respects freedom of speech and the press. There is no daily newspaper. The most widely read newspaper is The Nauru Bulletin, which appears weekly every Friday. A publication of the Department of Island Development and Industry, it focuses on government news and information and has a circulation of 700. It was founded in 1965. The Central Star News, founded in 1991, appears fortnightly on Saturday and publishes in both Nauran and English.

There is only one radio station, which is AM, one television station, and one Internet service provider, CenpacNet, Inc. There are 7,000 radios and 500 televisions.

Bibliography

CenpacNet, Inc. (n.d.) Home Page. Available from http://www.cenpac.net.

"CocoNET Wireless," The University of Queensland, Australia (1997). Available from http://www.uq.edu.au.

"General Information," Worldtravelguide.net (2002). Available from http://www.travel-guide.com.

"Nauru," CIA World Fact Book (2001). Available from http://www.cia.gov.

"Nauru," Freedom House (2000). Available from http://www.freedomhouse.org .

Jenny B. Davis

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Nauru

Nauru

Basic Data
Official Country Name: Republic of Nauru
Region: Oceania
Population: 11,845
Language(s): Nauruan, English
Literacy Rate: NA

An island in the central Pacific Ocean, Nauru is part of the British Commonwealth. The educational system there is based closely on the British model. Roman Catholic missionaries operate several parochial preprimary, primary, and secondary schools in Nauru, and during the 1990s, the Catholic church and the Nauruan government began working together in an effort to standardize the primary educational curriculum.

Education is free and mandatory for children aged 6 to 15. Preprimary education consists of both preschool and preparatory school. Enrollment rates in preprimary institutions grew from 62.7 percent in 1991 to 75.4 percent in 1998. Primary education lasts for six years and culminates in a national examination, successful completion of which is necessary for a students to be awarded the Nauru Primary Certificate. The student-teacher ratio is roughly 24:1. Secondary education is divided into two components: the first four years are compulsory, while the additional two years are optional. Students seeking higher education quite often do so in Australia.

In 1998, Nauru spent 10.72 percent of its national budget on education, one-third of which was earmarked to provide scholarships to students seeking higher degrees abroad. The primary language of instruction is English, although many teachers speak Nauruan in the classroom. In the mid-1990s some teachers began receiving training in English as a Second Language (ESL).

Efforts to offer vocational and technical education faltered in the late 1990s due to a lack of equipment and qualified teachers. Teacher shortages throughout the island prompted education officials to look into the creation of a teacher training institute, which is scheduled to be completed early in the twenty-first century.


Bibliography

Britannica.com. Nauru. 2001. Available from http://www.britannica.com.

UNESCO. The EFA 2000 Assessment: Country Reports: Nauru. World Education Forum, 2000. Available from http://www2.unesco.org.


AnnaMarie L. Sheldon

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Nauru

Nauru

Culture Name

Nauruan is the indigenous name used on official documents. Politically, the country is called the Republic of Nauru (RON).

Alternative Names

Pleasant Islander. Other spellings have appeared, such as Naoero on the national crest.

Orientation

Identification. The name Pleasant Island was used by the first Europeans in reference to the lush vegetation and friendly inhabitants. Nauruans are attempting to recreate that image after the devastation left by phosphate mining.

Location and Geography. Nauru is a single, almost circular island, 37 miles (60 kilometers) south of the equator. It is over 185 miles (300 hundred kilometers) from its nearest neighbor, Ocean Island, and nearly 500 miles (800 kilometers) from Kiribati to the east and the Marshall Islands to the northeast. The Solomon Islands are 744 miles (1,200 kilometers) to the southwest. Topographically, Nauru is shaped like a hat, with a coastal fringe forming the brim and the raised interior forming the crown. The interior, known as Topside, makes up four-fifths of the island; it has been mined for phosphate, and now is an almost impassable area of calcite pinnacles. Buada lagoon is in the raised interior. The island covers a total area of 13 square miles (21 square kilometers). The island is a raised reef consisting of calcite and phosphate on a volcanic base. Nauru has very steep sides that drop down to the ocean floor. This has made anchorage for shipping difficult and necessitated the use of a special mooring device.

Demography. The population has been estimated to be over nine thousand, of which indigenous Nauruans account for about six thousand. In the 1992 census, the population was projected to reach 8,100 by 1996, with a growth rate of 4.3 percent. The remainder of the population includes Pacific islanders from Kiribati, Tuvalu, and Fiji, along with Chinese, Filipinos, Indians, Australians, and New Zealanders. The population is relatively young, with 66 percent of the people under age 24. Population growth has been a major concern throughout the twentieth century. Attempts to reach a total of 1,500 were set back by the influenza epidemic of 1919, but that figure was reached in 1932, a date that now is celebrated as a national holiday. However, the population was severely reduced by starvation, disease, and bombing during World War II. In 1943, of the 1,201 Nauruans deported to Truk by the Japanese, 464 died, leaving 737 to return on 31 January 1946. The population reached 1,500 again in 1950 and has continued to grow. The nation continues to espouse a positive population policy. A very small proportion of Nauruans live overseas, but many visit Australia, New Zealand, and other countries for purposes of work or education or to visit family, and return home.

Linguistic Affiliation. Nauruan is classified as a Micronesian language but does not fit easily within subgroupings of Austronesian languages. It shares some words with Kiribati but is recognized as standing alone. Nauruans are writing their own dictionary. All Nauruans speak English as well as their own language.

Symbolism. The frigate bird is a major symbol; it is found on the fin of Air Nauru planes and appears as the official logo. The crest consists of two palm trees encircling an orb that includes a Christian cross above a resting frigate bird and a flower. Above the orb is a twelve-pointed star representing the twelve tribes of Nauru. Beneath the orb are the words "God's Will First," indicating the Christian basis of the community's way of life. Phosphate has become another symbol, forming the basis of the nation's wealth.

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of the Nation. In 1968, Nauru took over the management of its people and affairs when independence was granted by the trusteeship committee of the United Nations. It took over the running of the phosphate mines in 1970 after paying $13.5 million (U.S.) to the British Phosphate Commission. Those two assertions of social and economic self-reliance released Nauruans from the dominance of outsiders who had exploited the phosphate and the people for seventy years. Mining for phosphate, which dominated Nauruan history in the twentieth century, began when the Pacific Phosphate Company based in Sydney found high-grade phosphate in 1906. This mineral was used to fertilize pasture in Australia and New Zealand. Control passed from Pacific Phosphate to the British Phosphate Commission (BPC) in 1919. BPC was owned by Australia, Great Britain, and New Zealand. In addition to running the mine, Australia became the administering authority under a League of Nations mandate after World War I. Thus, the lives of Nauruans became inextricably tied to Australia and BPC until they achieved independence in 1968. The mine was run using laborers from China and the Pacific islands, particularly Kiribati and Tuvalu. Nauruans chose not to work in the mine other than to hold administrative positions in the 1950s and 1960s. Today most of the administrators are Nauruan, and labor is brought in on contract from the Philippines and India as well as from Kiribati and Tuvalu. World War II left a major mark on the history of Nauru. In 1942, the Japanese invaded, bringing some seven thousand men and military installations and building three runways. Two-thirds of the population was deported to Truk, an atoll to the north, where one-third died of starvation and disease. Those left on Nauru suffered severe privation, including starvation and bombing by the Americans for two years. When Australian forces reclaimed Nauru at the end of the war, the island was a mass of military litter, almost totally lacking in food supplies.

In the 1800s, the island had been a playground for whalers and beachcombers who left behind many English-sounding surnames, as well as guns and gin that added to the damage caused by mining. Nauruans want to rehabilitate the island so that they can use the interior four-fifths that has been mined out. Rehabilitation will be funded by 1993 payments of $120 million by Australia and $12 million each by Great Britain and New Zealand as compensation for mining damage before 1968.

National Identity. National identity as Nauruan remains very strong. It can be claimed only by those born of a Nauruan mother. All Nauruans are registered at birth, or shortly thereafter in the Births Deaths and Marriages register of the Nauru government, under their mother's clan. Failure to register a child as Nauruan eliminates that person from the entitlements of being Nauruan, particularly access to land rights, and to shares in phosphate revenue. A child of a Nauruan father, but whose mother is of another nationality must seek special permission to be registered as Naruan.

Ethnic Relations. Ethnic relations between Naruans and other groups brought into the small island, such as Chinese, Filipinos, Kiribati, Tuvalu, and Fijians are marked by clear distinctionsthe latter are grouped as Pacific Islanders. Each group is known for its particular place in the phosphate industry, and for the lifestyle adopted in Nauru. For example, the Kiribati men have brought their small canoes, from which they fish to sell to nauruans. All other groups work for Nauruans in one way or the other.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space

Nauru lacks an urban space. Eighty-five percent of the population lives on the narrow coastal strip, with the rest living around the Buada lagoon. All nine thousand inhabitants are crowded alongside the phosphate-processing facilities and the port, mainly in the southwest corner of the island. The airport runway takes up much valuable flat land. Virtually no land is used for agriculture. Until Top-side is rehabilitated, the expanding population will become increasingly crowded on the coastal strip. Before mining commenced, the people of Nauru used the interior of the island as a means of crossing from one coast to the other and as a source of food and recreation. The government intends to return Nauru to its status as Pleasant Island with vegetation and places for recreation.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. Almost all food is imported, with the exception of fish caught by Kiribati fishermen. Nauru provided pandanus and fish in premining times, and these were eaten with coconut meat. In times of drought, food shortages could last for two or more years. As a result of mining revenues, the people have a variety of supermarket foods, from turkey to milk. Rice is the basic staple, and fish with rice is the ideal meal. This diet is said to contribute to a high rate of obesity, which often is a precursor to diabetes.

Basic Economy. Phosphate revenues are the mainstay of the economy, together with investments made with revenues earned from earlier mining activities. An average per capita income of $14,400 (U.S.) per year covers up the two extremes: those who have a large number of investments offshore and those who have barely enough to live on. Nauru is an expensive place to live, as almost all necessities have to be imported, although water is now obtained from a desalinization plant. Until the mid-1980s, Nauruans had a strong welfare economy in which housing, education, and health were provided and government scholarships were available for tertiary education overseas. Major cutbacks in social welfare provisions have forced people to buy the materials for their houses and rely more on their personal incomes. Nauru Trust Funds are another potential source of income for all citizens who are recognized landowners and members of Nauruan matrilineage. Five funds were set up between 1920 and 1968, but payments have not been forthcoming as the trustees and the government struggle to assess the amount of revenue in the funds. The Nauruan people will have to live off the proceeds of mining, which is almost finished. The government is looking for economic alternatives.

Social Stratification

Classes and Castes. Nauruans pride themselves on being a democratic society and denounce the two classes that formerly marked their society. The temonibe and amenengame classes consisted of the senior matrilineage as opposed to those in the junior matrilineages. These two classes were distinguished from the itsio, or slave class, which included those who arrived on Nauru from outside and had no land holdings. Heads of lineages were drawn from the temonibe class. A chiefly system instituted in 1927 was replaced in 1951 by the Nauru Local Government Council which consists of elected members.

Symbols of Social Stratification. Symbols of stratification are more latent than overt. Elites with large off-shore bank accounts are known by reputation, as it is not acceptable to flaunt wealth on the island. Trucks or motorbikes and large houses are the extent of manifestations of wealth.

Political Life

Government. Nauru is an active member of the South Pacific Forum and participates in the South Pacific Bureau of Economic Cooperation (SPBEC) and the Forum Fisheries Agency. As the chair of the forum in 1993, Nauru presented a strong case for sustainable development in the small Pacific island states. Its strength is derived from the struggles of its leaders to maintain recognition of Nauruans' rights in their own land. As early as 1921, concerns about Nauruans' returns from phosphate were raised by leaders such as Timothy Detudamo and Hammer de Roburt. Those leaders pressured the BPC and the Australian administration to grant greater shares of the phosphate returns to the Nauruan people and provide better living conditions. Administrative costs were taken out of phosphate profits rather than paid for by Australia as the administering authority under the League of Nations mandate. In 1927, the Australian administration instituted a system of chiefs for the twelve districts. In 1951, Nauruans chose to replace that structure by a more democratic elected body, the Nauru Local Government Council (NLGC), with elected councillors representing the districts. The NLGC was disbanded in 1992. The government now consists of a president and five cabinet ministers as well as a judiciary and a public service. Nauru maintains diplomatic relations with several countries. There is no military force.

Social Problems and Control. Drunk driving, particularly by young Nauruan men is a serious problem and the leading cause of death on the island. Families exercise social controls, though there is a police force for major social violations. Concerns about pay-outs from the Trust Funds led to a sit-in across the airport runway in 1993 at the time the Pacific Forum leaders were arriving. That reaction resulted in those women (it was a women's action) being fined, some lost their jobs, and the leaders were arrested. There is no jail as such on the island. Serious criminal offenders may be incarcerated in an Australian jail by arrangement.

Social Welfare and Change Programs

Nauruans grew up under a broad welfare system in which all their welfare needs were met. Those funds came from the Australian administering authority out of a special Nauru Trust Fund whose money came from phosphate profits. Housing, education, health care, and the public service were all paid for under this administrative account. That system was terminated in 1986, and older Nauruans are finding it hard to live under the new regime, especially those whose lands were mined early. Nauruans have been asking the government for money from the trust funds, and this has caused political antagonism.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations

Nongovernmental organizations are active mainly within church and youth activities. Both the Congregational and Catholic church have church committees amongst others that work with the Social Welfare department.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. A division of labor by gender is not easily defined. The matrilineal social system gives women a lot of power, so they lead behind the scenes, while men take the political roles in government. Civil Service consists of mostly male heads with women seeking these jobs in the past 20 years. Two of the diplomats in overseas postings have been women. Most of the primary school teachers are women, while men are active in phosphate management. The term "division of labor" is no longer appropriate.

The Relative Status of Women and Men.

Nauruans maintain social ties through the mother (matrilineal ties). Mothers are the anchor persons of kin groups and residential groups, and ties between sisters and brothers are strong. Women are the main care givers within and between households, but they have entered the workforce in considerable numbers in the last fifteen years. Men predominate in political affairs and all senior government positions. Only two women have shared political office at any one time. Male leadership has dominated Nauru's external affairs. Women are active in the National Council of Women and in church committees.

Marriage, Family, and Kinship

All Nauruans belong to a matrilineal group or clan. Each birth and death is publically identified by clan affiliation in a public document. That affiliation lasts the lifetime of the individual and is not altered by marriage. A marriage partner must be selected from another clan. Marriage today is largely a Christian affair, though there are concerns that some young people are opting not to marry; their children belong to the mother's lineage. Households center on the mother, who takes care of and then is cared for by her children. The nominal head of the household is the male, but the decision-making head is the mother, who is largely responsible for economic management as well as social care. Land and other properties are inherited by both sons and daughters, but only daughters can pass on their rights to their children without seeking extended family consent. Modern properties such as motor-bikes are passed on within extended families. All Nauruans belong to a district. That affiliation is inherited through the mother or father but may be changed during a person's lifetime for political reasons. District affiliation includes responsibility for participating in district activities.

Socialization

Children belong to the mother's lineage but are cared for equally by their paternal kin. Adoptions, whether formal or informal, are fairly common. Children are indulged by Western standards; they can and do exercise a traditional right of demand for goods from the mother's brother. They are seldom left alone and form part of a large network of kin that extends around the island. A primary school is located in each village; from there students progress to government high school or the Catholic high school. A few are sent to Australia or New Zealand to study, especially if their parents received their secondary education overseas. Government scholarships for Nauruans are offered for tertiary study in Australia and New Zealand. The University of the South Pacific Extension Centre is offering opportunities for tertiary study.

Etiquette

Nauru is a Christian country so a prayer opens most gatherings. Children are expected to honor and respect their elders. Mothers are particularly honored. Dress is usually European. Many elements of Australian etiquette are followed as public practice.

Religion

Religious Beliefs. Christianity arrived in the 1880s, introduced by both a Catholic missionary and a Congregational minister. Those two religions dominate today. The Catholic Church provides a secondary school, while the Congregational Church, which is the national church, has a major church in the center of the downtown area and smaller churches in the districts. Timothy Detudamo translated the Bible into Nauruan in the 1930s. Before Christian beliefs arrived and mining destroyed Topside, Nauruans believed in the primordial establishment of the island by two spirits that came from Kiribati and were manifest in two rocks, one on either side of Topside. Those rocks have disappeared, along with many of the other useful aspects of Topside. Buada lagoon is another site of spiritual strength for some Nauruans.

Medicine and Health Care

Government concerns about health have led to programs of intervention, including encouraging more sports and physical activity by young people. Attempts are being made to reduce the high rate of road accidents, particularly among male motor-cyclists. High alcohol use also is being addressed by educational programs. Two hospital exist on the island. One is run by the government for Naurans and a separate facility is run by the Nauru Phosphate Corporation for its contract workers.

The Arts and Humanities

Nauruans have revived their interest in their history. The Department of Education is producing a history from a Nauruan perspective as well as a Nauruan dictionary. Writers are being encouraged, mainly through the USP Extension Centre on Nauru, to produce stories, poems, and songs. Throughout the twentieth century, poems were written to commemorate special events. Those poems recorded not just historical events but also the culture of Nauru.

The State of the Physical and Social Sciences

The project to rehabilitate the interior (Topside) has generated considerable interest in the plants and animals of the island. The Committee for Rehabilitation of Nauru consisted of Australians supported by AIDAB and Nauru, working alongside Nauruans. It encouraged a number of young people to share their interest in and knowledge about plants as well as understanding of the social dynamics of the island.

Bibliography

Dobson Rhone, R. "Nauru: The Richest Island in the South Seas." National Geographic 11(6):559589, 1921.

Ellis, Albert F. Ocean Island and Nauru, 1935.

Fabricius, Wilhelm. Nauru 18881900, 1992.

Hambruch, Paul. Nauru. Ergebnisse der Sudsee Expedition, 19081910, 1915.

Kretzschmar, K. E. Nauru, 1913.

Pollock, Nancy J. Nauru Report, 1987.

. "Social Fattening Patterns in the Pacific: A Nauru Case Study." In N. J. Pollock and I. de Garine, eds., Social Aspects of Obesity, 1995.

. Social Impact of Mining on Nauruans, in press.

Viviani, Nancy. Nauru, Phosphate and Political Progress, 1970.

Weeramantry, C. Nauru: Environmental Damage under International Trusteeship, 1992.

Nancy J. Pollock

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Nauru

Nauru Island republic in the w Pacific Ocean, a coral atoll located halfway between Australia and Hawaii, and the world's smallest independent state. Nauru was explored by a British navigator, John Hunter, in 1798. In 1888, the atoll was annexed to Germany. Australian forces occupied Nauru during World War I. During World War II, the Japanese held Nauru. In 1968, the island became an independent republic within the Commonwealth. Nauru has rich deposits of high-grade phosphate rock, which account for 98% of its exports (2000 GDP per capita, US$5000). Area: 21sq km (8sq mi). Pop. (2002 est.) 11,300.

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Nauru

Nauru is a small Polynesian island, east of New Guinea, whose economy is based largely upon phosphate. Visited first in 1798, it became a German colony and was occupied by the Australians in 1914. After the First World War, it was administered as a mandate by Britain, Australia, and New Zealand and occupied during the Second World War by the Japanese. It became an independent republic in 1968 and is an associate member of the Commonwealth.

J. A. Cannon

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NAURU

NAURU. A country of Oceania, an island of 21 square miles, and member of the COMMONWEALTH. Languages: Nauruan (official), English. A German colony since the late 19c, Nauru became a League of Nations mandate in 1920 and later a UN trust territory administered by Australia, gaining internal self-government in 1966 and independence in 1968.

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Nauru

Nauru •Andrew •Maseru, Nehru •aircrew • écru • breakthrough •Hebrew • see-through • corkscrew •walk-through •Nakuru, Nauru •froufrou • guru • woodscrew •thumbscrew • run-through • Timaru

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Nauru

Nauru

PROFILE
GEOGRAPHY
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-NAURU RELATIONS
TRAVEL

Compiled from the October 2007 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:

Republic of Nauru

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 21 sq. km.

Cities: Capital—no official capital; government offices in Yaren District.

Terrain: Rough beach rises to a fertile but narrow ring around a raised, prehistoric coral reef plateau, studded with coral pinnacles exposed by phosphate mining.

Climate: Equatorial; monsoonal; rainy season (November to February); unreliable rainfall and prone to El Nino-linked droughts.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Nauruan(s).

Population: (2006) 9,275.

Age structure: 38.2% below 14; 1.9% over 65.

Annual growth rate: (1992–2002) 2.5%.

Ethnic groups: Nauruan 95%, Chinese 3%, other Pacific Islander 1%, European 1%.

Religions: Christian (two-thirds Protestant, one-third Roman Catholic).

Languages: Nauruan, English.

Education: (2004) Literacy—97%.

Health: (2002) Life expectancy (2004 est.) women 56.9 yrs.; men 49.0 yrs.; Infant mortality rate—10.14/1,000.

Work force: (2004 est.) 4,300.

Unemployment: (2004 est.) 50%.

Government

Type: Republic.

Constitution: 1968.

Independence: January 31, 1968.

Government branches: Executive—president and cabinet. Legislative—unicameral Parliament. Judicial—Supreme Court, Appellate Court, District Court, and Family Court.

Political subdivisions: 14 districts.

Political parties: Naoero Amo (Nauru First) Party.

Budget: (2006/2007 est.) $17.6 million.

Suffrage: Universal at age 20.

Economy

GDP: (2005/2006 est.) $25.2 million.

Per capita GDP: (2005/2006 est.) $2,739.

Avg. inflation rate: (2005 est.) -3-4%.

Industry: Types—phosphate mining.

Trade: Exports (2004 est.)— $640,000; phosphates. Major export markets—Japan. Imports (2004 est.)—$19.8 million; food, fuel, manufactures. Major import sources—Australia.

Currency: Australian dollar (A$).

GEOGRAPHY

Nauru is a small oval-shaped island in the western Pacific Ocean, located just 42 kilometers (26 mi.) south of the Equator. It is one of three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean—the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia. Until recently Nauru's phosphate reserves were thought to be nearly depleted, but there are some indications that the potential for continued productive mining might exist. Phosphate mining in the central plateau has left a barren terrain of jagged, prehistoric coral pinnacles, up to 15 meters (49 ft.) high. A century of mining has stripped and devastated four-fifths of the total land area. Efforts to rehabiltate the mined-out areas have been unsuccessful.

The island is surrounded by a coral reef, exposed at low tide and dotted with pinnacles. The reef is bounded seaward by deep water, inside by a narrow sandy beach. A 150-300-meter (492-984 ft.) wide fertile coastal strip lies landward from the coast, ending in forested coral cliffs that rise to the now mined-out central plateau. The highest point of the plateau is 65 meters (213 ft.) above sea level. The island' only fertile areas are within the narrow coastal belt, where there are coconut palms,

pandanus trees, and indigenous hardwoods, and the land surrounding the inland Buada lagoon on the central plateau, where bananas, pineapples, and some vegetables are grown. Some secondary vegetation has begun to cover the scarred central plateau and its coral pinnacles.

PEOPLE

Nauruans descended from Polynesian and Micronesian seafarers. Grouped in clans or tribes, early Nauruans traced their descent on the female side. They believed in a female deity, Eijebong, and a spirit land, also an island, called Buitani. Two of the 12 original tribal groups became extinct during the 20th century. Because of poor diet, alcohol abuse, and a sedentary lifestyle, Nauru has one of the world's highest levels of abetes, renal failure and heart disease, exceeding 40% of the population.

HISTORY

Nauru had little contact with Europeans until whaling ships and other traders began to visit in the 1830s. The introduction of firearms and alcohol destroyed the peaceful coexistence of the 12 tribes living on the island. A 10-year internal war began in 1878 and resulted in a reduction of the population from 1,400 (1843) to around 900 (1888).

The island was allocated to Germany under the 1886 Anglo-German Convention. Phosphate was discovered a decade later and the Pacific Phosphate Company started to exploit the reserves in 1906, by agreement with Germany. Following the outbreak of World War I, Australian forces captured the island in 1914. After the war, the League of Nations assigned a joint trustee mandate over the island to Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. The three governments established the British Phosphate Commissioners, who exercised the rights to phosphate mining.

During World War II Japan occupied Nauru in August 1942 and deported 1,200 Nauruans to work as laborers in the Caroline Islands, where 463 died. The survivors returned to Nauru in January 1946.

After the war the island became a UN Trust Territory under Australia, in line with the previous League of Nations mandate, and it remained one until it became an independent republic in 1968. A plan by the partner governments to resettle the Nauruans (due to dwindling phosphate reserves and damage to the island from extensive mining) on Curtis Island off the north coast of Queensland, Australia, was abandoned in 1964 when the islanders decided not to move. In 1967, the Nauruans purchased the assets of the British Phosphate Commissioners, and in June 1970 control passed to the Nauru Phosphate Corporation.

In 1989 Nauru filed suit against Australia in the International Court of Justice in The Hague for damages caused by mining while the island was under Australian jurisdiction. Australia settled the case out of court in 1993, agreeing to pay a lump sum settlement of A$107 million (U.S$85.6 million) and an annual stipend of the equivalent of A$2.5 million in 1993 dollars toward environmental rehabilitation.

GOVERNMENT

The country is governed by a unicameral Parliament consisting of 18 members elected at least triennially from 8 constituencies. Parliament elects the president, who is both chief of state and head of government, from among its members. The president appoints a cabinet from among members of Parliament.

For its size, Nauru has a complex legal system. The Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of Nauru, is paramount on constitutional issues, but other cases can be appealed to the two-judge Appellate Court. Parliament cannot overturn court decisions, but Appellate Court rulings can be appealed to Australia's High Court; in practice, however, this rarely happens. Lower courts consist of the District Court and the Family Court, both of which are headed by a Resident Magistrate, who also is the Registrar of the Supreme Court. Finally, there also are two quasi-courts—the Public Service Appeal Board and the Police Service Board—both of which are presided over by the Chief Justice. There is a small police force of 109 members under civilian control. There are no armed forces.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 2/1/2008

President: Ludwig SCOTTY

Min. Assisting the President: David ADEANG

Min. for Civil Aviation: Ludwig SCOTTY

Min. for Culture & Tourism: Kieren KEKE, Dr.

Min. for Customs: David ADEANG

Min. for Education & Vocational Training: Baron WAQA

Min. for Finance: David ADEANG

Min. for Foreign Affairs: David ADEANG

Min. for Health: Kieren KEKE, Dr.

Min. for Internal Affairs: David ADEANG

Min. for Immigration: Godfrey THOMA

Min. for Island Development & Industry: Frederick PITCHER

Min. for Justice: Godfrey THOMA

Min. for Nauru Fisheries & Natural Resources: Godfrey THOMA

Min. for Public Service: Ludwig SCOTTY

Min. for Public Works: Baron WAQA

Min. for Shipping: Kieren KEKE, Dr.

Min. for Sports: Godfrey THOMA

Min. for Women's Affairs: Kieren KEKE, Dr.

Min. for Youth Affairs: Baron WAQA

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Marlene Inemwin MOSES

Nauru does not currently have an embassy in the United States but does have a UN Mission at 800 2nd Ave, Suite 400D, New York, New York 10017 (tel: 212-937-0074, fax: 212-937-0079).

POLITICAL CONDITIONS

In recent decades, as turmoil grew over Nauru's uncertain future aneconomic failures, no-confidencvotes that spurred changes of government became commonplace. In 199Nauru had four different presidentin as many months. However, witthe election of Ludwig Scotty in October 2004 and the naming of a reformminded government, the pattern has stopped.

ECONOMY

Having once boasted the second highest per capita GDP in the world thanks to its fabled phosphate mines, Nauru is today destitute. With the seeming depletion of readily accessible phosphate reserves in 2000, mining on a large-scale commercial basis ended. The decline of mining saw a dramatic economic contraction, compounded by past government corruption and disastrous mismanagement of trust funds that had been expected to provide post-mining revenue streams for Nauru's citizens. Since 2000, Nauru has relied largely on payments for fishing rights within its exclusive economic zone, earnings from hosting two Australian refugee processing camps, and massive injections of grants and development funding, principally from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China and more recently Taiwan. In 2006, following rehabilitation of its industrial plant and marine loading infrastructure, the government-owned mining company, the Republic of Nauru Phosphate Company or RONPhos, resumed mining with the aim of exploiting the remaining harder-to-access phosphate. Although Nauru had a nominal per capita GDP in excess of $2,700, its economy is in deep crisis, and the resumption of mining promises only a limited respite as the country seeks to find a sustainable economic future. The private sector is very small and employs less than 300. Currently, all public servants (even government ministers) and employees of state-owned enterprises receive bi-weekly payments from government of just A$140 (about U.S. $118) in lieu of their established salaries. Nauru imports well over 90 percent of its foodstuffs and other basic goods, but sea and air transport has become problematic. In December 2005, the national airline's remaining airplane was repossessed for non-payment, leaving Nauru dependent on chartered flights.

In September 2006, with financing help from Taiwan, a replacement aircraft re-established scheduled commercial flights to Nauru and around the region under the new name of Our Airline. The provision of electricity and water, both dependent on expensive imported fuel, is limited and sporadic. With the help of the Pacific Islands Forum and numerous development partner nations, Nauru has embarked on a major, multi-year strategic national development program to achieve a sustainable economic framework for the country.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Following independence in 1968, Nauru joined the Commonwealth as a Special Member. Special Members take part in all Commonwealth activities except heads of government meetings. They are not assessed but make voluntary contributions toward the running of the Secretariat. They are eligible for all forms of technical assistance.

Nauru was admitted to the United Nations in 1999. It is a member of the Pacific Islands Forum, the South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme, the South Pacific Commission, and the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission. In 2001 at Australia's request, Nauru became host to approximately 1,200 asylum seekers, mostly Afghan, who were intercepted while attempting to enter Australia illegally. By mid-2006, only a single Iraqi refugee remained on the island, having been assessed by Australia as a security risk and thus ineligible to enter Australia. In September 2006, Australia effectively reopened the center by transferring seven Burmese asylum seekers there for assessment. In exchange for housing the refugees while their asylum applications were adjudicated, Australia has provided Nauru with extensive grants and aid. In March 2007, Australia transferred 82 Sri Lankan refugees to the processing center in Nauru, which had been significantly upgraded in the preceding months. During 2002 Nauru severed diplomatic recognition with Taiwan and signed an agreement to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. This move followed China' promise to provide more than U.S. $130 million in aid. However, in May 2005, Nauru reestablished diplomatic ties with Taiwan, ending its relationship with China. Taiwan remains one of only two countries, the other being Australia, with a diplomatic mission on Nauru. In March 2007, Nauru established an embassy in Taipei.

U.S.-NAURU RELATIONS

Relations between the United States and Nauru are cordial. The U.S. has no consular or diplomatic offices in Nauru. Officers of the American Embassy in Suva, Fiji, are concurrently accredited to Nauru and make periodic visits.

Trade between the United States and Nauru is limited by the latter's small size and economic problems. The value of two-way trade in 2005 was $1.6 million.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Last Updated: 2/19/2008

SUVA (E) 31 Loftus Street, Suva, 679-331-4466, Fax 679-330-5106, Workweek: 0800-1730 (Mon-Thu), 0800-1500 (Fri), Website: http://suva.usembassy.gov.

AMB OMS:Cherisa K. Roe
ECO:Brian J. Siler
HRO:Ila Jurisson
MGT:Ila Jurisson
AMB:Larry M. Dinger
CON:Debra J. Towry
DCM:Theodore A. Mann
PAO:Jeffrey Robertson
COM:Quinn N. Plant
GSO:Jae S. Lee
RSO:James T. Suor
CLO:Vacant
DAO:Ltc. Patrick D. Reardon
EEO:Heather Coble
FMO:Ila Jurisson
ICASS:Chair Patrick D. Reardon
IMO:Steven A. Baldwin
ISO:Steven A. Baldwin
ISSO:Steven A. Baldwin
POL:Brian J. Siler
State ICASSJoseph P. Murphy

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

October 3, 2007

Country Description: Nauru, a small single-island nation in the South Pacific, is located about 25 miles south of the equator. It is a constitutional republic with a parliamentary system of government. Tourist facilities are available on a limited basis. Yaren, the capital, has an international airport.

Entry Requirements: A passport, visa, onward/return ticket, and proof of hotel bookings (or sponsorship from a resident of Nauru) are required for tourists. Tourist visas are issued for a maximum of thirty days. Travelers transiting with valid ticket for an onward destination do not require a visa, provided that the first connecting flight departs within three days of arrival in Nauru. Business visitors must have a visa and a local sponsor. Nauru collects a departure tax that must be paid in cash and in Australian dollars. For more information on entry/exit requirements, travelers may wish to contact the Nauru Consulate General in Melbourne, Australia, at telephone (613) 9664-4600, fax (613) 9650-479. The address is: Level 7, 128 Exhibition St., Melbourne, Victoria 3000. E-mail contact is: [email protected]

Safety and Security: For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affair's Internet site at http://travel.state.gov, where the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, including the Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.

Crime: Nauru has a low crime rate. However, visitors should not be complacent regarding personal safety or the protection of valuables.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local crimin

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Health care facilities in the Republic of Nauru are adequate for routine medical problems, but very limited in availability. Serious medical conditions requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); or via the CDC's Internet site at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) web site at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Nauru is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance. Traffic moves on the left in Nauru. The main road circling the island is paved, but the remaining roads are unpaved. There is no organized roadside assistance, although there are a number of mechanics and car repair facilities on the island.

Animals and pedestrians walking in the road make night driving hazardous. For specific information concerning Nauru driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Nauru Consulate General in Melbourne, Australia at telephone (613) 9653-5709, fax (613) 9654-4738.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Nauru as not being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's internet web site at http://www.faa.gov.

Special Circumstances: In Nauru, the Australian dollar is the legal currency. Traveler's checks and all major currencies are accepted by banks and may also be exchanged for local currency at some local hotels.

Nauru's customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Nauru of items such as foodstuffs, animals, and pornographic materials. It is advisable to contact the Nauru Consulate General in Melbourne, Australia, for specific information regarding customs requirements.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that, if questioned by local officials proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available. If detained, U.S. citizens are encouraged to request that a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji be notified.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than those in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Nauru law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Registration and Embassy Locations: There is no U.S. Embassy or diplomatic post in Nauru. The U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji, provides assistance for U.S. citizens in Nauru. Americans living or traveling in Nauru are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Suva through the State Department's travel registration web site at https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Nauru. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The U.S. Embassy in Fiji is located at 31 Loftus Street in Fiji's capital city of Suva. The telephone number is (679) 331-4-466; the fax number is (679) 330-2-267. Information may also be obtained by visiting the Embassy's home page at http://suva.usembassy.gov. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

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Nauru

NAURU

Compiled from the September 2005 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Republic of Nauru


PROFILE

Geography

Area:

21 sq. km.

Cities:

Capital—no official capital; government offices in Yaren District.

Terrain:

Sandy beach rises to a fertile but narrow ring around raised coral reefs with phosphate plateau in center.

Climate:

tropical; monsoonal; rainy season (November to February).

People

Nationality:

Noun and adjective—Nauruan(s).

Population (2004 est.):

12,809.

Age structure:

38.2% below 14; 1.9% over 65.

Annual growth rate:

1.87%.

Ethnic groups:

Nauruan 58%, other Pacific Islander 26%, Chinese 8%, European 8%.

Religion:

Christian (two-thirds Protestant, one-third Roman Catholic).

Language:

Nauruan, English. Education (2004): Literacy—97%.

Health (2002):

Infant mortality rate—10.14/1,000. Life expectancy (est.)—61.57 yrs.; women 66.06 yrs.; men 58.78 yrs.

Work force (2004 est.):

4,500.

Unemployment (2004 est.):

90%.

Government

Type:

Republic.

Constitution:

1968.

Independence:

January 31, 1968.

Branches:

Executive—president and cabinet. Legislative—unicameral Parliament. Judicial—Supreme Court, Appellate Court, District Court, and Family Court.

Administrative subdivisions:

14 districts.

Political party:

Naoero Amo (Nauru First) Party.

Central government budget (2004 est.):

$10.0 million.

Suffrage:

Universal at age 20.

Economy

GDP (2004 est.):

$1 million [Note: Nauru is receiving over A$25 million (US$20 million) support a year from Australia.]

Per capita GDP (2004 est.):

$100.

Avg. inflation rate (2004 est.):

−4%. Australian dollar is currency used in Nauru.

Industry:

Types—phosphate mining, fishing.

Trade:

Exports (2004 est.)—$640,000; phosphates. Major export markets—Japan. Imports (2004 est.)—$19.8 million; food, fuel, manufactures. Major import sources—Australia.

Fiscal year:

July 1 to June 30.


GEOGRAPHY

Nauru is a small oval-shaped island in the western Pacific Ocean, located just 42 kilometers (26 mi.) south of the Equator. It is one of three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean—the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia—though its phosphate reserves are nearly depleted. Phosphate mining in the central plateau has left a barren terrain of jagged coral pinnacles, up to 15 meters (49 ft.) high. A century of mining has stripped and devastated four-fifths of the total land area.

The island is surrounded by a coral reef, exposed at low tide and dotted with pinnacles. The reef is bounded seaward by deep water, inside by a sandy beach. A 150-300-meter (492-984 ft.) wide fertile coastal strip lies landward from the beach. Coral cliffs surround the central plateau. The highest point of the plateau is 65 meters (213 ft.) above sea level. The only fertile areas are the narrow coastal belt, where there are coconut palms, pandanus trees, and indigenous hardwoods, and the land surrounding Buada lagoon, where bananas, pineapples, and some vegetables are grown. Some secondary vegetation grows over the coral pinnacles.


PEOPLE

Nauruans descended from Polynesian and Micronesian seafarers. Grouped in clans or tribes, early Nauruans traced their descent on the female side. They believed in a female deity, Eijebong, and a spirit land, also an island, called Buitani. Two of the 12 original tribal groups became extinct during the 20th century. Because of poor diet, alcohol abuse, and unemployment, Nauru has the world's highest level of diabetes, renal failure and heart disease, exceeding 40% of the population.


HISTORY

Nauru had little contact with Europeans until whaling ships and other traders began to visit in the 1830s. The introduction of firearms and alcohol destroyed the peaceful coexistence of the 12 tribes living on the island. A 10-year internal war began in 1878 and resulted in a reduction of the population from 1,400 (1843) to around 900 (1888).

The island was allocated to Germany under the 1886 Anglo-German Convention. Phosphate was discovered a decade later and the Pacific Phosphate Company started to exploit the reserves in 1906, by agreement with Germany. Following the outbreak of World War I, the island was captured by Australian forces in 1914. After the war the League of Nations gave Britain, Australia, and New Zealand a trustee mandate over the territory. The three governments established the British Phosphate Commissioners, who took over the rights to phosphate mining.

During World War II Japan occupied Nauru in August 1942 and deported 1,200 Nauruans to work as laborers in the Caroline Islands, where 463 died. The survivors returned to Nauru in January 1946.

After the war the island became a UN Trust Territory under Australia, in line with the previous League of Nations mandate, and it remained one until independence in 1968. A plan by the partner governments to resettle the Nauruans (because of disappearing phosphate and damage to the island caused by extensive mining) on Curtis Island, off the north coast of Queensland, Australia, was abandoned in 1964 when the islanders decided to stay put. In 1967, the Nauruans purchased the assets of the British Phosphate Commissioners and in June 1970 control passed to the Nauru Phosphate Corporation. Nauru became an independent republic in 1968.

In 1989 Nauru filed suit against Australia in the International Court of Justice in The Hague for damages caused by mining while the island was under Australian jurisdiction. Australia settled the case out of court in 1993, agreeing to pay A$107 million (U.S.$85.6 million) and to assist Nauru with environmental rehabilitation.


GOVERNMENT

The country is governed by a unicameral Parliament consisting of 18 members elected at least triennially from 14 constituencies. Parliament elects the president, who is both chief of state and head of government, from among its members. The president appoints a Cabinet from among Parliament.

For its size, Nauru has a complex legal system. The Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of Nauru, is paramount on constitutional issues, but other cases can be appealed to the two-judge Appellate Court. Parliament cannot overturn court decisions, but Appellate Court rulings can be appealed to Australia's High Court; in practice, however, this rarely happens. Lower courts consist of the District Court and the Family Court, both of which are headed by a Resident Magistrate, who also is the Registrar of the Supreme Court. Finally, there also are two quasi-courts—the Public Service Appeal Board and the Police Appeal Board—both of which are presided over by the Chief Justice.

There are no armed forces, although there is a small police force (less than 100 members) under civilian control.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 11/29/2004

President: Scotty, Ludwig
Min. Assisting the President: Adeang, David
Min. for Civil Aviation: Scotty, Ludwig
Min. for Culture & Tourism: Keke, Kieren, Dr.
Min. for Customs: Adeang, David
Min. for Education & Vocational Training: Waqa, Baron
Min. for Finance: Adeang, David
Min. for Foreign Affairs: Adeang, David
Min. for Health: Keke, Kieren, Dr.
Min. for Internal Affairs: Adeang, David
Min. for Immigration: Thoma, Godfrey
Min. for Island Development & Industry: Pitcher, Frederick
Min. for Justice: Thoma, Godfrey
Min. for Nauru Fisheries & Natural Resources: Thoma, Godfrey
Min. for Public Service: Scotty, Ludwig
Min. for Public Works: Waqa, Baron
Min. for Shipping: Keke, Kieren, Dr.
Min. for Sports: Thoma, Godfrey
Min. for Women's Affairs: Keke, Kieren, Dr.
Min. for Youth Affairs: Waqa, Baron
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Clodumar, Vinci Niel

Nauru does not currently have an embassy in the United States but does have a UN Mission at 800 2d Ave, Suite 400D, New York, New York 10017 (tel: 212-937-0074, fax: 212-937-0079).


POLITICAL CONDITIONS

As turmoil grows over Nauru's uncertain future and economic failures, no-confidence votes that spur a change of government have become common. In 1997 Nauru had four different presidents in as many months. Ludwig Scotty was reelected in October 2004.


ECONOMY

The economy depends almost entirely on the country's declining phosphate deposits. These were depleted in 2000 on a largescale commercial basis; however, smallscale mining is still occurring. The government-owned Nauru Phosphate Corporation (NPC) controls the mining industry. Many of the miners are contract workers from Kiribati and Tuvalu. The government places a large percentage of the NPC's earnings in long-term investments meant to support the citizenry after the phosphate reserves have been exhausted; many of these investments have not panned out, while those that have succeeded have often been used as collateral for loans, eroding their value. In the years after independence, Nauru possessed the highest GDP per capita in the world due to its rich phosphate deposits. Nauru now lacks money to perform many of the basic functions of government. A history of bad investments includes a failed play in London and the purchase of the once-luxurious Grand Pacific Hotel in Fiji. Financial mismanagement, corruption, and a shortage of basic goods, electricity, and water have resulted in some domestic unrest, such as demonstrations outside of Parliament. Air Nauru, the country's link to the outside world, has been periodically grounded in recent years due to problems paying for the maintenance of its sole aircraft. The airline is now engaged in a court case regarding repossession of the aircraft for nonpayment of debt.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Following independence in 1968, Nauru joined the Commonwealth as a Special Member. Special Members take part in all Commonwealth activities except heads of government meetings. They are not assessed but make voluntary contributions toward the running of the Secretariat. They are eligible for all forms of technical assistance.

Nauru was admitted to the United Nations in 1999. It is a member of the Pacific Islands Forum, the South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme, the South Pacific Commission, and the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission.

In 2001 Nauru became host to approximately 1,000 asylum seekers, mostly Afghan, who were intercepted while attempting to enter Australia illegally. A total of 67 remain on the island. Nauru reportedly received about $10 million in assistance from Australia in exchange for agreeing to house the refugees while their asylum applications are adjudicated.

During 2002 Nauru severed diplomatic recognition with Taiwan and signed an agreement to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. This move followed China's promise to provide more than U.S.$130 million in aid.


U.S.-NAURU RELATIONS

The United States has no consular or diplomatic offices in Nauru. Officers of the American Embassy in Suva, Fiji, are concurrently accredited to Nauru and make periodic visits.

Trade between the United States and Nauru is limited due to the latter's small size and economic problems. In 2004, U.S. trade with Nauru was negligible.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

SUVA (E) Address: 31 Loftus Street, Suva; Phone: 00679-331-4466; Fax: 00679-330-5106; Workweek: 0800 - 1700; Website: www.Amembassy-Fiji.gov.

AMB:Larry M. Dinger
AMB OMS:Cherisa K. Roe
DCM:Ted A. Mann
POL:Brian J. Siler
COM:Heidi L. Hanneman
CON:Kirk D. Lindly
MGT:Jeffrey J. Robertson
AFSA:Rydell C. Fletcher
CLO:Sarah C. Oddo
DAO:Patrick D. Reardon
ECO:Brian J. Siler
EEO:Keisha K. Lafayette
FMO:Jeffrey J. Robertson
GSO:Jonathan P. Floss
ICASS Chair:Kirk D. Lindly
IMO:Rydell C. Fletcher
ISO:Rydell C. Fletcher
ISSO:Rydell C. Fletcher
RSO:James T. Suor
Last Updated: 1/8/2006

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

July 15, 2005

Country Description:

Nauru, a small single-island nation in the South Pacific, is located about 25 miles south of the equator. It is a constitutional republic with a parliamentary system of government. Tourist facilities are available on a limited basis. Yaren, the capital, has an international airport.

Entry/Exit Requirements:

A passport, visa, onward/return ticket, and proof of hotel bookings (or sponsorship from a resident of Nauru) are required for tourists. Tourist visas are issued for a maximum of thirty days. Travelers transiting with valid ticket for an onward destination do not require a visa, provided that the first connecting flight departs within three days of arrival in Nauru. Business visitors must have a visa and a local sponsor. Nauru collects a departure tax that must be paid in cash and in Australian dollars. For more information on entry/exit requirements, travelers may wish to contact the Nauru Consulate General in Melbourne, Australia, at telephone (613) 9653-5709, fax (613) 9654-4738.

Safety and Security:

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov/, where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime:

Nauru has a low crime rate. However, visitors should not be complacent regarding personal safety or the protection of valuables.

Information for Victims of Crime:

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney, if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information:

Health care facilities in the Republic of Nauru are adequate for routine medical problems, but very limited in availability. Serious medical conditions requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance:

The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Nauru is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Traffic moves on the left in Nauru. The main road circling the island is paved, but the remaining roads are unpaved. There is no organized roadside assistance, although there are a number of mechanics and car repair facilities on the island. Animals and pedestrians walking in the road make night driving hazardous. For specific information concerning Nauru driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Nauru Consulate General in Melbourne, Australia at telephone (613) 9653-5709, fax (613) 9654-4738.

Aviation Safety Oversight:

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Nauru as not being in compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards for oversight of Nauru's air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/safety/programs_initiatives/oversight/iasa.

Special Circumstances:

In Nauru, the Australian dollar is the legal currency. Traveler's checks and all major currencies are accepted by banks and may also be exchanged for local currency at some local hotels.

Nauru's customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Nauru of items such as foodstuffs, animals, and pornographic materials. It is advisable to contact the Nauru Consulate General in nMelbourne, Australia for specific information regarding customs requirements.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that, if questioned by local officials proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available. If detained, U.S. citizens are encouraged to request that a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji be notified.

Criminal Penalties:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than those in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Nauru law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues:

For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://www.travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Embassy Location:

There is no U.S. Embassy or diplomatic post in Nauru. The U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji, provides assistance for U.S. citizens in Nauru. Americans living or traveling in Nauru are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Suva through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Nauru. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The U.S. Embassy in Fiji is located at 31 Loftus Street in Fiji's capital city of Suva. The telephone number is (679) 331-4466; the fax number is (679) 330-2267. Information may also be obtained by visiting the Embassy's home page at http://www.amembassy-fiji.gov/. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

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Nauru

Nauru

1 Location and Size

2 Topography

3 Climate

4 Plants and Animals

5 Environment

6 Population

7 Migration

8 Ethnic Groups

9 Languages

10 Religions

11 Transportation

12 History

13 Government

14 Political Parties

15 Judicial System

16 Armed Forces

17 Economy

18 Income

19 Industry

20 Labor

21 Agriculture

22 Domesticated Animals

23 Fishing

24 Forestry

25 Mining

26 Foreign Trade

27 Energy and Power

28 Social Development

29 Health

30 Housing

31 Education

32 Media

33 Tourism and Recreation

34 Famous Nauruans

35 Bibliography

Republic of Nauru

Naoero

CAPITAL: There is no formal capital. The seat of government is in the district of Yaren

FLAG: The flag has a blue background divided horizontally by a narrow gold band, symbolizing the equator. Below the band on the left side is a white 12-pointed star, representing the island’s 12 traditional tribes.

ANTHEM: Nauru Ubwema (Nauru, Our Homeland).

MONETARY UNIT: The Australian dollar (a$) of 100 cents is the legal currency. a$1 = us$0.76336 (or us$1 = a$1.31) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: Imperial weights and measures are used.

HOLIDAYS: New Year’s Day, 1 January; Independence Day, 31 January; Angam Day, 26 October (a celebration of the day on which the population of Nauru reached the pre-World War II level); Christmas Day, 25 December; and Boxing Day, 26 December.

TIME: 11:30 pm = noon GMT.

1 Location and Size

Located in the western Pacific, Nauru is the world’s smallest independent island nation, with an area of 21 square kilometers (8 square miles), about one-tenth the size of Washington, D.C. It lies between two island groups, the Solomons and the Gilberts, with its nearest neighbor being Banaba (formerly Ocean Island, now part of Kiribati). Nauru has a coastline of 30 kilometers (18.6 miles). The Yaren district, which holds the seat of the government, is located on the southern coast of the Nauru.

2 Topography

Nauru, one of the largest phosphate-rock islands in the Pacific, is oval-shaped and fringed by a wide coral reef. It has no natural harbor or anchorage. A relatively fertile belt of land encircles the island. From this belt a coral cliffrises to a central plateau, which rises to the highest point in the nation of about 61 meters (200 feet) at an unnamed location. The lowest point is at sea level (Pacific Ocean).

Buada Lagoon, the largest inland body of water, covers some 120 hectares (300 acres) in

GEOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Geographic Features

Area: 21 sq km (8 sq mi)

Size ranking: 192 of 194

Highest elevation: 61 meters (200 feet) at an unnamed location along plateau rim

Lowest elevation: Sea level at the Pacific Ocean

Land Use*

Arable land: 0%

Permanent crops: 0%

Other: 100%

Weather**

Average annual precipitation: 45 centimeters (18 inches)

Average temperature in January: 27.2°c (81.0°f)

Average temperature in July: 27.8°c (82.0°f)

* Arable Land: Land used for temporary crops, like meadows for mowing or pasture, gardens, and greenhouses.

Permanent crops: Land cultivated with crops that occupy its use for long periods, such as cocoa, coffee, rubber, fruit and nut orchards, and vineyards.

Other: Any land not specified, including built-on areas, roads, and barren land.

** The measurements for precipitation and average temperatures were taken at weather stations closest to the country’s largest city.

Precipitation and average temperature can vary significantly within a country, due to factors such as latitude, altitude, coastal proximity, and wind patterns.

the southeastern end of the plateau. Apart from some brackish ponds and an underground lake, the nation’s water supply is provided by rainfall.

3 Climate

The average annual rainfall varies widely from year to year with an average of 45 centimeters (18 inches) in some years and 200 centimeters (79 inches) in others. Long droughts have been a recurrent problem. Temperatures remain steady, between 24 and 33°c (75 and 91°f) year-round, and relative humidity also is constant at about 80%.

4 Plants and Animals

Large areas of scrub and creeper, with occasional coconut and tamanu trees, grow in the plateau region. On the coastal belt, coconut palms and pandanus (a type of screw pine) thrive. Some hibiscus, frangipani, and other tropical flowers grow. Bird life is not plentiful. There are no indigenous land animals; however, hogs and poultry were introduced many years ago. Fish life is abundant in the seas encircling Nauru, and good catches of tuna and bonito are taken.

5 Environment

Nauru’s phosphate mining industry has done significant damage to the land. Land in the coastal region, however, has not been affected by the development of the country’s mining industry. Nauru has limited freshwater resources. Its residents collect rainwater in rooftop storage tanks. Periodic droughts pose an additional hazard to the environment. Nauru is also affected by the global warming trend, which has caused sea levels to rise, placing low-lying areas at risk from tidal surges and flooding.

In 2006, about 19 animal species were considered to be threatened, including albacore tuna and the tiger shark. The bristle-thighed curlew and Finsch’s reed warbler are vulnerable bird species.

6 Population

The 2005 estimated population was 13,000. Most Nauruans live around the coastal fringes in their traditional districts. The projected population for the year 2025 is 17,887. The population density in 2005 was about 545 per square kilometer (1,411 per square mile).

7 Migration

Immigration to Nauru is strictly controlled by the government, but Nauruans are free to travel abroad. There were a total of 5,000 migrants living in Nauru in 2000, which accounted for more than 30% of the total population. In 2005, the estimated net migration rate was zero.

8 Ethnic Groups

The Nauruans are of mixed Micronesian, Melanesian, and Polynesian origin. They are traditionally divided into 12 clans or tribes in which individuals belong to the same clan as their mother. The 12 clans are Eamwit, Eamwidumwit, Deboe, Eoaru, Emea, Eano, Emangum, Ranibok, Eamwidara, Iruwa, Irutsi (extinct), and Iwi (extinct).

The Caucasians on the island are almost all Australians and New Zealanders working in administrative or teaching posts, or in the phosphate industry. The Chinese and immigrants from Kiribati and Tuvalu originally came to the island as laborers. Filipino contract workers are also present but are not permitted to bring their families.

About 58% of the population are Nauruan, 26% other Pacific Islanders, 8% Chinese, and 8% European.

9 Languages

Nauruan, which is distinct from all other Pacific tongues, is the official language. However, English is still commonly used in the schools, in government, and in business transactions. Most Nauruans are bilingual, but use Nauruan in everyday life.

10 Religions

The Nauruans have accepted Christianity as a primary religion since the end of the 19th century. A 2004 report indicated that about two-thirds of the population was Protestant and one-third was Roman Catholic. Buddhism and Taoism are also represented, particularly among the Chinese community.

11 Transportation

The public Nauru Pacific Line has a fleet of six ships. In 2004, there was one airport with a paved runway. The government-owned Air Nauru flies regular air services to the Pacific islands, Taiwan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. In 1997 it carried 137,000 passengers on scheduled flights. In 2002, the road system extended for a total of 30 kilometers (19 miles), of which 24 kilometers (15 miles) were paved. Apart from a 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) railway (used to carry phosphates), a school bus service, and fewer than 2,000 registered motor vehicles, there is no local transport.

12 History

The first recorded discovery of Nauru by a Westerner was made by Captain John Fearn in 1798. From the 1830s to the 1880s, the Nauruans had a succession of visitors, including runaway convicts and deserters from whaling ships. In accord with the British/German division of the Western Pacific, the German government took Nauru as a protectorate in 1888, although Christian missionaries who arrived in 1899 had a greater impact on the Nauruan culture than the German administration. Phosphate mining on Nauru began in 1907.

After the defeat of Germany in World War I (1914–18), the governments of Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom agreed to administer Nauru jointly. The phosphate industry expanded greatly in the years between the two world wars (1919–38). Nauru was flattened by Japanese bombings beginning in December 1941, and all its industrial plant and housing facilities were destroyed. The Japanese occupied the island from August 1942 until the end of the war three years later. Australian forces reoccupied Nauru in September 1945.

After World War II (1939–45), the island became a trust territory administered jointly by Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, who were to share the task of developing self-government on the island. On 31 January 1968, Nauru became an independent republic. Since that time, Nauru has pursued a policy of isolation and nonalignment, although it does have a role in British Commonwealth affairs. In October 1982 Queen Elizabeth II visited the island, the first British monarch to do so. Nauru filed a claim in 1989 for compensation from Australia at the International Court of Justice for the loss of nearly all its topsoil from phosphate mining during the League of Nations mandate and the United Nations trusteeship. Australia agreed to pay a$107 million (about us$73 million) in August 1993 to settle the case.

In June 1992, Nauru signed both the Climate Change and Biodiversity Conventions. In July it hosted the 24th South Pacific Forum heads of government meeting, which focused on environmental issues. In 1993 Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom agreed to pay Nauru a settlement for soil damage.

Nauru became a member of the Commonwealth of Nations in May 1999 and

joined the United Nations in September of the same year.

President Bernard Dowiyogo lost his 1995 bid for reelection to Lagumot Harris in 22 November 1995, but was returned to office for the fifth time in 2000. On 29 March 2001, he was forced from office in a political crisis over the alleged involvement of a Russian organized crime network in Nauru’s financial activities. Nauru has been criticized for its role as a tax haven and money-laundering center. Dowiyogo was replaced by René Harris, who held the presidency until 8 January 2003, when a no-confidence motion was passed against him. Following the vote of no-confidence against Harris, parliament voted numerous times on who would be elected president. He was replaced by Dowiyogo, who then died following heart surgery in the United States on 9 March 2003. Derog Gioura was named acting president. General elections were held in May 2003 and Ludwig Scotty became president of Nauru. However, in what has been termed Nauru’s “rotating presidency,” René Harris became president in August 2003

BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Name: Ludwig Scotty

Position: President of a republic

Took Office: 22 June 2004

Birthplace: Anabar, Nauru

Birthdate: 20 June 1948

Of interest: He also served as president from 29 May 2003 to 8 August 2003 before being ousted after a vote of no confidence.

following a no-confidence vote on Scotty. A second no-confidence vote removed Harris from office again in June 2004 and Scotty was again returned to the presidency.

In June 2003 Nauru announced it was ending its offshore banking operations. Only one license would be kept, that for the Bank of Nauru. In 2005, Nauru was removed from the international Financial Action Group’s blacklist, on which it had been placed due to allegations of supporting tax havens and money laundering.

13 Government

Legislative power is held by the parliament, which is composed of 18 members elected for a three-year term. Executive power is exercised by the president, who also is head of state. He is elected by parliament and is assisted by a cabinet, which he appoints.

The Nauru Local Government Council fulfills the traditional functions of local government.

14 Political Parties

The Democratic Party of Nauru, which aimed to curb the power of the presidency, became the only political party in Nauru in 1987. As of 2003 the Nauru Party was headed by Bernard Dowiyogo and the Center Party was headed by former president Kinza Clodumar.

15 Judicial System

The constitution provides for a supreme court, with a chief justice presiding. Cases also are heard in the district court or family court. The Supreme Court of Nauru is the supreme authority on the interpretation of the constitution. Appeals against decisions of the Supreme Court go to the Appellate Court of Nauru. Cases may also be appealed to the High Court of Australia.

16 Armed Forces

Nauru has no armed forces. Although there is no formal agreement, Australia ensures its defense. There is a police force of about 60 officers.

17 Economy

The economy of Nauru has long been dependent on phosphates. However, recent estimates indicate that this resource will be exhausted in the near future. By 1987 an estimated us$450 million had been set aside to support the country after the phosphates run out. However, the government has borrowed from the trust since 1990. In 1994 an audit revealed that us$8.5 million was missing due to bad investments and corruption. Aside from phosphates, Nauru has few domestic resources, and many food products and practically all consumer manufactures are imported. The government has been directing dwindling revenues from phosphates towards projects to diversify the economy.

Nauru is known as a tax haven. As of 2002, the country had not taken sufficient corrective actions for this problem and remained on the list of noncooperative tax havens that is compiled by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an international group.

The country has received an inflow of funds from Australia in an agreement to act as an offshore location for the processing of asylum seekers. The Australian government has offered considerable aid to the country.

18 Income

The gross domestic product (GDP) of Nauru was estimated to be us$60 million in 2005, or us$5,000 per person.

19 Industry

The phosphate industry is the only industry on the island. However, by 2005, the primary deposits were largely exhausted. There is also an active offshore banking industry.

20 Labor

The workforce had been primarily engaged in the state-owned phosphate industry, with public administration, education, and transportation providing employment as well. However, since the depletion of phosphate reserves, almost 90% of the workforce was unemployed (as of 2005). Only about 1% of employment is in the private sector. There also are some 3,000 foreigners working in Nauru, mostly from Vanuatu and Kiribati. There is almost no unemployment. There were no trade unions or labor organizations as of 2002.

In 2002 the annual minimum wage in the public sector was us$6,562 for workers over 21 years of age. This provides an adequate standard of living for a family. The minimum age for employment is 17 years, although some younger children work in the few family-owned small businesses.

21 Agriculture

Since arable land is limited, there is little commercial agriculture. The main crop is coconuts. In 2005 coconut production amounted to 1,600 tons. Some vegetables are grown, mainly by the Chinese population.

22 Domesticated Animals

Pigs and chickens roam uncontrolled on the island; therefore, there is no organized production. In 2005, there were an estimated 2,800 pigs.

23 Fishing

There is no organized fishing industry on Nauru, but the government plans to develop fishing facilities. Fish are plentiful and consumption is high, since almost all meat has to be imported from Australia. The total catch in 2003 was 43 tons.

24 Forestry

There are no forests on Nauru. All building timber has to be imported.

Yearly Balance of Trade

The balance of trade is the difference between what a country sells to other countries (its exports) and what it buys (its imports). If a country imports more than it exports, it has a negative balance of trade (a trade deficit). If exports exceed imports there is a positive balance of trade (a trade surplus).

25 Mining

High-grade phosphate rock was Nauru’s major natural resource. However, as of 2005, the rock reserves had been significantly depleted. Nauru also produces some common clays, sand and gravel, and stone.

26 Foreign Trade

Nauru’s only export has been phosphate rock. With rock reserves nearly depleted, Nauru has been spending more for imports than it earns through exports. Imports consist mostly of machinery and construction materials, food, water, fuel, and other necessities. The primary export partners are South Africa, Germany, India, Japan, and Poland. About half of the imports come from Australia. Other import partners include Indonesia, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

27 Energy and Power

Nauru ahs no proven reserves of oil, natural gas, or coal. Power requirements on the island are met by a diesel oil generator. In 2002, production was 30 million kilowatt hours.

28 Social Development

Medical, dental, and hospital treatment and education are free. The government provides old-age and disability pensions, and widows’ and sickness benefits. Women face great social pressure to marry and raise families. Traditional views on the roles of women result in limited educational and employment opportunities for women.

29 Health

There are two modern hospitals. One hospital serves phosphate industry employees and the other provides free medical treatment for the rest of the population. Patients who need specialized care are flown to Australia. In 2004 there were 150 physicians and 557 nurses per 100,000 people.

Tuberculosis, leprosy, diabetes, and vitamin deficiencies have been the main health problems. Cardiovascular disease has also been a major cause of illness and death. Life expectancy as of 2005 was estimated at 62.7 years. The infant mortality rate that year was 9.95 per 1,000 live births.

Selected Social Indicators

The statistics below are the most recent estimates available as of 2006. For comparison purposes, data for the United States and averages for low-income countries and high-income countries are also given. About 15% of the world’s 6.5 billion people live in high-income countries, while 37% live in low-income countries.

IndicatorNauru Low-income countriesHigh-income countriesUnited States
sources: World Bank. World Development Indicators. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 2006; Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2006; World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.
Per capita gross national income (GNI)*$5,000 $2,258$31,009$39,820
Population growth rate1.8% 2%0.8%1.2%
People per square kilometer of land545 803032
Life expectancy in years: male60 587675
female67 608280
Number of physicians per 1,000 people1.5 0.43.72.3
Number of pupils per teacher (primary school)n.a. 431615
Literacy rate (15 years and older)n.a. 65%>95%99%
Television sets per 1,000 peoplen.a. 84735938
Internet users per 1,000 peoplen.a. 28538630
Energy consumed per capita (kg of oil equivalent)n.a. 5015,4107,843
CO2 emissions per capita (metric tons)10.71 0.8512.9719.92 
* The GNI is the total of all goods and services produced by the residents of a country in a year. The per capita GNI is calculated by dividing a country’s GNI by its population and adjusting for relative purchasing power.
n.a.: data not available >: greater than <: less than

Most homes are built and owned by the Nauru Local Government Council, but some residents do own their own homes. Nearly all houses have electricity and newer homes have a greater number of modern features.

31 Education

Attendance at school is compulsory for Nauruan children from 5 to 16 years old. Two types of schools are available: those run by the government and those conducted by the Roman Catholic Church. Education is provided free by the government. Higher education overseas, mainly in Australia, is assisted by the government in the form of competitive scholarships. There is also a university extension center affiliated with the University of the South Pacific. In the early 1990s, Nauru had six preprimary and two primary schools, one secondary school, and a technical school, as well as a mission school. In 1998, there were about 2,000 students enrolled in primary schools and 1,000 students enrolled in secondary schools. The adult literacy rate in 1991 was estimated at 30.4%.

32 Media

In 2002, there were about 1,900 mainline telephones and 1,500 mobile phones in use nationwide. There is only one radio station, Radio Nauru, which is owned by the government. As of 1997 there was one television station in operation. In the same year, there were 374 radios in use per 1,000 population. In 2002, there were about 300 Internet users.

Most newspapers are imported. There are two regular publications: the private fortnightly newspaper, the Central Star News, and the government Gazette.

33 Tourism and Recreation

With its sandy beaches, coral reef, tropical climate, and sea breezes, Nauru has the potential for the development of tourism. Popular sports are weightlifting, basketball, and badminton.

34 Famous Nauruans

The best-known Nauruan is its first president, Hammer DeRoburt (1923–1992), who led the Nauruan people to political independence.

35 Bibliography

BOOKS

McDaniel, Carl N. Paradise for Sale: A Parable of Nature. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

Petit-Skinner, Solange. The Nauruans. San Francisco: Macduff Press, 1981.

PERIODICALS

Trumbull, Robert. “World’s Richest Little Isle.” New York Times Magazine, March 7, 1982.

Van Atta, Dale. “Paradise Squandered.” Reader’s Digest, May 1997.

WEB SITES

Commonwealth Country Profiles. www.thecommonwealth.org/Templates/YearbookHomeInternal.asp?NodeID=138866. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Country Pages. www.state.gov/p/eap/ci/nr/. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Government Home Page. www.un.int/nauru/foreignaffairs.html. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

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Nauru

Nauru

Compiled from the September 2006 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Republic of Nauru

PROFILE

GEOGRAPHY

PEOPLE

HISTORY

GOVERNMENT

POLITICAL CONDITIONS

ECONOMY

FOREIGN RELATIONS

U.S.-NAURU RELATIONS

TRAVEL

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 21 sq. km.

Cities: Capital—no official capital; government offices in Yaren District.

Terrain: Rough beach rises to a fertile but narrow ring around raised coral reefs with phosphate plateau in center.

Climate: tropical; monsoonal; rainy season (November to February); unreliable rainfall.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Nauruan(s).

Population: (2005/6 est.) 9,200.

Age structure: 38.2% below 14; 1.9% over 65.

Annual growth rate: 1.87%.

Ethnic groups: Nauruan 80%, other Pacific Islander 5%, Chinese 8%, European 7%.

Religions: Christian (two-thirds Protestant, one-third Roman Catholic).

Languages: Nauruan, English. Education: (2004) Literacy—97%.

Health: (2002) Life expectancy (2004 est.) women 56.9 yrs.; men 49.0 yrs.; Infant mortality rate—10.14/1,000.

Work force: (2004 est.) 4,300.

Unemployment: (2004 est.) 50%.

Government

Type: Republic.

Constitution: 1968.

Independence: January 31, 1968.

Government branches: Executive—president and cabinet. Legislative—unicameral Parliament. Judicial—Supreme Court, Appellate Court, District Court, and Family Court.

Political subdivisions: 14 districts.

Political parties: Naoero Amo (Nauru First) Party.

Budget: (2005/6 est.) $13.8 million.

Suffrage: Universal at age 20.

Economy

GDP: (2005/6 est.) $25.2 million Per capita GDP: (2005/6 est.) $2,739.

Inflation rate: (2005 est.) -3-4%. Australian dollar is currency used in Nauru.

Industry: Types—phosphate mining.

Trade: Exports (2004 est.)—$640,000; phosphates. Major export markets—Japan. Imports (2004 est.)—$19.8 million; food, fuel, manufactures. Major import sources—Australia.

Currency: Australian dollar (A$)

GEOGRAPHY

Nauru is a small oval-shaped island in the western Pacific Ocean, located just 42 kilometers (26 mi.) south of the Equator. It is one of three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean—the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia—though its phosphate reserves have been presumed to be nearly depleted. Phosphate mining in the central plateau has left a barren terrain of jagged coral pinnacles, up to 15 meters (49 ft.) high. A century of mining has stripped and devastated four-fifths of the total land area.

The island is surrounded by a coral reef, exposed at low tide and dotted with pinnacles. The reef is bounded seaward by deep water, inside by a narrow sandy beach. A 150-300-meter (492-984 ft.) wide fertile coastal strip lies landward from the coast, ending in forested coral cliffs that rise to the now mined-out central plateau. The highest point of the plateau is 65 meters (213 ft.) above sea level. The island’s only fertile areas are within the narrow coastal belt, where there are coconut palms, pandanus trees, and indigenous hardwoods, and the land surrounding the inland Buada lagoon on the central plateau, where bananas, pineapples, and some vegetables are grown. Some secondary vegetation has begun to cover the scarred central plateau and its coral pinnacles.

PEOPLE

Nauruans descended from Polynesian and Micronesian seafarers. Grouped in clans or tribes, early Nauruans traced their descent on the female side. They believed in a female deity, Eijebong, and a spirit land, also an island, called Buitani. Two of the 12 original tribal groups became extinct during the 20th century. Because of poor diet, alcohol abuse, and a sedentary lifestyle, Nauru has one of the world’s highest levels of diabetes, renal failure and heart disease, exceeding 40% of the population.

HISTORY

Nauru had little contact with Europeans until whaling ships and other traders began to visit in the 1830s. The introduction of firearms and alcohol destroyed the peaceful coexistence of the 12 tribes living on the island. A 10-year internal war began in 1878 and resulted in a reduction of the population from 1,400 (1843) to around 900 (1888).

The island was allocated to Germany under the 1886 Anglo-German Convention. Phosphate was discovered a decade later and the Pacific Phosphate Company started to exploit the reserves in 1906, by agreement with Germany. Following the outbreak of World War I, the island was captured by Australian forces in 1914. After the war the League of Nations assigned a joint trustee mandate over the island to Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. The three governments established the British Phosphate Commissioners, who exercised the rights to phosphate mining. During World War II Japan occupied Nauru in August 1942 and deported 1,200 Nauruans to work as laborers in the Caroline Islands, where 463 died. The survivors returned to Nauru in January 1946.

After the war the island became a UN Trust Territory under Australia, in line with the previous League of Nations mandate, and it remained one until it became an independent republic in 1968. A plan by the partner governments to resettle the Nauruans (due to dwindling phosphate reserves and damage to the island from extensive mining) on Curtis Island off the north coast of Queensland, Australia, was abandoned in 1964 when the islanders decided to stay put. In 1967, the Nauruans purchased the assets of the British Phosphate Commissioners, and in June 1970 control passed to the Nauru Phosphate Corporation.

In 1989 Nauru filed suit against Australia in the International Court of Justice in The Hague for damages caused by mining while the island was under Australian jurisdiction. Australia settled the case out of court in 1993, agreeing to pay a lump sum settlement of A$107 million (U.S.$85.6 million) and an annual stipend of the equivalent of A$2.5 million in 1993 dollars toward environmental rehabilitation.

GOVERNMENT

The country is governed by a unicameral Parliament consisting of 18 members elected at least triennially from 8 constituencies. Parliament elects the president, who is both chief of state and head of government, from among its members. The president appoints a cabinet from among members of Parliament.

For its size, Nauru has a complex legal system. The Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of Nauru, is paramount on constitutional issues, but other cases can be appealed to the two-judge Appellate Court. Parliament cannot overturn court decisions, but Appellate Court rulings can be appealed to Australia’s High Court; in practice, however, this rarely happens. Lower courts consist of the District Court and the Family Court, both of which are headed by a Resident Magistrate, who also is the Registrar of the Supreme Court. Finally, there also are two quasi-courts—the Public Service Appeal Board and the Police Service Board—both of which are presided over by the Chief Justice.

There is a small police force of 109 members under civilian control. There are no armed forces.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 8/16/2006

President: Ludwig SCOTTY

Min. Assisting the President: David ADEANG

Min. for Civil Aviation: Ludwig SCOTTY

Min. for Culture & Tourism: Kieren KEKE, Dr.

Min. for Customs: David ADEANG

Min. for Education & Vocational Training: Baron WAQA

Min. for Finance: David ADEANG

Min. for Foreign Affairs: David ADEANG

Min. for Health: Kieren KEKE, Dr.

Min. for Internal Affairs: David ADEANG

Min. for Immigration: Godfrey THOMA

Min. for Island Development & Industry: Frederick PITCHER

Min. for Justice: Godfrey THOMA

Min. for Nauru Fisheries & Natural Resources: Godfrey THOMA

Min. for Public Service: Ludwig SCOTTY

Min. for Public Works: Baron WAQA

Min. for Shipping: Kieren KEKE, Dr.

Min. for Sports: Godfrey THOMA

Min. for Women’s Affairs: Kieren KEKE, Dr.

Min. for Youth Affairs: Baron WAQA

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Marlene Inemwin MOSES

Nauru does not currently have an embassy in the United States but does have a UN Mission at 800 2d Ave, Suite 400D, New York, New York 10017 (tel: 212-937-0074, fax: 212-937-0079).

POLITICAL CONDITIONS

In recent decades, as turmoil grew over Nauru’s uncertain future and economic failures, no-confidence votes that spurred changes of government became commonplace. In 1997 Nauru had four different presidents in as many months. However, with the election of Ludwig Scotty in October 2004 and the naming of a reform-minded government, the pattern has stopped.

ECONOMY

Having once boasted the second highest per capita GDP in the world thanks to its fabled phosphate mines, Nauru is today destitute. With the seeming depletion of readily accessible phosphate reserves in 2000, mining on a large-scale commercial basis ended. The decline of mining saw a dramatic economic contraction, compounded by past government corruption and disastrous mismanagement of trust funds that had been expected to provide post-mining revenue streams for Nauru’s citizens Since 2000, Nauru has relied largely on payments for fishing rights within its exclusive economic zone, earnings from hosting two Australian refugee processing camps, and massive injections of grants and development funding, principally from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China and more recently Taiwan. In 2006, following rehabilitation of its industrial plant and marine loading infrastructure, the government-owned mining company, the Republic of Nauru Phosphate Company or RONPhos, resumed mining with the aim of exploiting remaining and harder to access phosphate.

Although Nauru had a nominal per capita GDP in excess of $2,700, its economy is in deep crisis, and the resumption of mining promises only a limited respite as the country seeks to find a sustainable economic future. The private sector is very small and employs less than 300. Currently, all public servants (even government ministers) and employees of state-owned enterprises receive bi-weekly payments from government of just A$140 (c. U.S. $106) in lieu of their established salaries. Nauru imports well over 90 percent of its foodstuffs and other basic goods, but sea and air transport has become problematic. In December 2005, the national airline’s remaining airplane was repossessed for non-payment, leaving Nauru dependent on chartered flights. In September 2006, with financing help from Taiwan, a replacement aircraft re-established scheduled commercial flights to Nauru. The provision of electricity and water, both dependent on expensive imported fuel, is limited and sporadic. With the help of the Pacific Islands Forum and numerous development partner nations, Nauru has embarked on a major, multi-year strategic national development program to achieve a sustainable economic framework for the country.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Following independence in 1968, Nauru joined the Commonwealth as a Special Member. Special Members take part in all Commonwealth activities except heads of government meetings. They are not assessed but make voluntary contributions toward the running of the Secretariat. They are eligible for all forms of technical assistance.

Nauru was admitted to the United Nations in 1999. It is a member of the Pacific Islands Forum, the South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme, the South Pacific Commission, and the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission.

In 2001 at Australia’s request, Nauru became host to approximately 1,200 asylum seekers, mostly Afghan, who were intercepted while attempting to enter Australia illegally. By mid-2006, only a single Iraqi refugee remained on the island, having been assessed by Australia as a security risk and thus ineligible to enter Australia. In September 2006, Australia effectively re-opened the center by transferring seven Burmese asylum seekers there for assessment. In exchange for housing the refugees while their asylum applications were adjudicated, Australia has provided Nauru with extensive grants and aid.

During 2002 Nauru severed diplomatic recognition with Taiwan and signed an agreement to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. This move followed China’s promise to provide more than U.S.$130 million in aid. In May 2005, Nauru re-established diplomatic ties with Taiwan, ending its relationship with China.

U.S.-NAURU RELATIONS

Relations between the United States and Nauru are cordial. The U.S. has no consular or diplomatic offices in Nauru. Officers of the American Embassy in Suva, Fiji, are concurrently accredited to Nauru and make periodic visits.

Trade between the United States and Nauru is limited by the latter’s small size and economic problems. The value of two-way trade in 2005 was $1.6 million.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

SUVA (E) Address: 31 Loftus Street, Suva; Phone: 679-331-4466; Fax: 679-330-5106; Workweek: 0800–1700; Website: www.Amembassy-Fiji.gov.

AMB:Larry M. Dinger
AMB OMS:Cherisa K. Roe
DCM:Ted A. Mann
POL:Brian J. Siler
COM:Heidi L. Gibson
CON:Debra Towry
MGT:Ila S. Jurisson
AFSA:Michael Via
CLO:Sarah C. Oddo
DAO:Patrick D. Reardon
ECO:Brian J. Siler
EEO:vacant
EPA:Joseph P. Murphy
FMO:Ila Jurisson
GSO:Jae S. Lee
ICASS Chair:Oghale Oddo
IMO:Rydell C. Fletcher
ISO:Rydell C. Fletcher
ISSO:Rydell C. Fletcher
RSO:James T. Suor
State ICASS:Joe Murphy

Last Updated: 12/12/2006

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet : August 15, 2006

Country Description: Nauru, a small single-island nation in the South Pacific, is located about 25 miles south of the equator. It is a constitutional republic with a parliamentary system of government. Tourist facilities are available on a limited basis. Yaren, the capital, has an international airport.

Entry/Exit Requirements: A passport, visa, onward/return ticket, and proof of hotel bookings (or sponsorship from a resident of Nauru) are required for tourists. Tourist visas are issued for a maximum of thirty days. Travelers transiting with valid ticket for an onward destination do not require a visa, provided that the first connecting flight departs within three days of arrival in Nauru. Business visitors must have a visa and a local sponsor. Nauru collects a departure tax that must be paid in cash and in Australian dollars. For more information on entry/exit requirements, travelers may wish to contact the Nauru Consulate General in Melbourne, Australia, at telephone (613) 9664-4600, fax (613) 9650-6479. The address is: Level 7, 128 Exhibition St., Melbourne, Victoria 3000. E-mail contact is: [email protected]

Safety and Security: For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime: Nauru has a low crime rate. However, visitors should not be complacent regarding personal safety or the protection of valuables.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney, if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Health care facilities in the Republic of Nauru are adequate for routine medical problems, but very limited in availability. Serious medical conditions requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services. Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); or via the CDC’s Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Nauru is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance. Traffic moves on the left in Nauru. The main road circling the island is paved, but the remaining roads are unpaved.

There is no organized roadside assistance, although there are a number of mechanics and car repair facilities on the island. Animals and pedestrians walking in the road make night driving hazardous.

For specific information concerning Nauru driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Nauru Consulate General in Melbourne, Australia at telephone (613) 9653-5709, fax (613) 9654-4738.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Nauru as not being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov.

Special Circumstances: In Nauru, the Australian dollar is the legal currency. Traveler’s checks and all major currencies are accepted by banks and may also be exchanged for local currency at some local hotels. Nauru’s customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Nauru of items such as foodstuffs, animals, and pornographic materials. It is advisable to contact the Nauru Consulate General in Melbourne, Australia, for specific information regarding customs requirements.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that, if questioned by local officials proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available. If detained, U.S. citizens are encouraged to request that a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji be notified.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than those in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Nauru law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children’s Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Embassy Location: There is no U.S. Embassy or diplomatic post in Nauru. The U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji, provides assistance for U.S. citizens in Nauru. Americans living or traveling in Nauru are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Suva through the State Department’s travel registration website, and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Nauru. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The U.S. Embassy in Fiji is located at 31 Loftus Street in Fiji’s capital city of Suva. The telephone number is (679) 331-4-466; the fax number is (679) 330-2-267. Information may also be obtained by visiting the Embassy’s home page at http://www.amembassy-fiji.gov/. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

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Nauru

Nauru

Type of Government

Nauru is governed as a parliamentary republic. Its government combines elements of the European system of parliamentary conventions and the American presidential model. Nauru’s federal government comprises separate executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The president serves as both head of state and head of the government. The unicameral parliament carries out legislative functions.

Background

The Republic of Nauru is a small island nation located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, approximately twenty-five miles south of the equator. With a population of just over thirteen thousand and an area of only eight square miles, it is the world’s smallest independent republic. The nation has no official capital; rather, the seat of government is located in the Yaren administrative district on the island’s southwestern coast. Nauru is one of three phosphate rock islands in the South Pacific (the others are Makatea in French Polynesia and Kiribati).

Until the end of the eighteenth century, Nauru was inhabited solely by people of Polynesian origin. They lived in relative isolation from outside cultural influences, which gave rise to a distinctive language. Traditional Nauruan society was divided into twelve matrilineal clans (groups of families sharing a common maternal ancestor).

The island was first sighted in 1798 by the British captain John Fearn (1768–1837), who named it Pleasant Island. Nauru began to attract serious attention in Europe during the 1830s, when it became a stopping point for whaling ships in search of fresh water and supplies. The Europeans brought with them weapons, disease, and liquor. The introduction of guns exacerbated conflict among the indigenous people, leading to decades of bloody warfare. Between 1843 and 1888 Nauru’s population dropped from fourteen hundred to just nine hundred.

Nauru became a possession of Germany according to the terms of the Anglo-German Convention of 1886, and two years later, the island was incorporated into Germany’s nearby Marshall Islands protectorate. The German colonial administration succeeded in putting an end to the clan warfare.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the discovery of large deposits of phosphate—a key ingredient in the production of fertilizers—marked a turning point in Nauru’s history, as nations struggled for control of the island and its natural resources. In 1906 Germany authorized the British-owned Pacific Phosphate Company to begin phosphate-mining operations on Nauru. During World War I, the island was occupied by Australian forces, who expelled most of the Germans. After the war Nauru became a mandated territory of the League of Nations, which assigned joint responsibility for the island and its resources to Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. These nations created the British Phosphate Commission to control Nauru’s phosphate-mining operations.

Nauru was occupied by another imperial power during World War II. From 1942 to 1945, Japan controlled the island, forcing more than twelve hundred Nauruans into unpaid labor on the nearby atoll of Truk (modern Chuuk, part of the Federated States of Micronesia) and using the island as a military base. Australia reclaimed the island in 1945 and returned the enslaved Nauruans to their homes on January 31, 1946, a date that is now celebrated as Independence Day. The following year, the United Nations appointed the trio of Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand to head Nauru’s colonial government once again, although Australia handled the actual administration of the island.

Nauru continued under the administration of Australia until it was granted self-government in 1966. In 1968 the island became fully independent following a two-year constitutional convention. That year, Nauru adopted its own constitution and elected Hammer DeRoburt (1923–1992) as the nation’s first president.

In 2006 Nauru was designated a special member of the Commonwealth of Nations (also called the British Commonwealth), a voluntary association of more than fifty independent nations that are former colonies or territories of the British Empire. Its special status means that Nauru can participate in all Commonwealth activities and receive all benefits of membership but cannot attend meetings of the heads of government.

Government Structure

According to the 1968 constitution, the president of Nauru serves as both head of state and head of the government. The president is elected from among the members of the legislature to serve a three-year term. However, the legislature may end the president’s term at any time by passing a motion of no confidence. Executive authority is vested in the cabinet, which consists of four to six members who are appointed by the president from among the members of the legislature. The cabinet is ultimately responsible to the legislature.

Nauru has a unicameral (single-chamber) legislature called the Parliament. This body is made up of eighteen members representing eight multi-seat constituencies; seats are apportioned to the constituencies based on population. Members are elected by popular vote to three-year terms. Voting is compulsory for all citizens over the age of twenty.

Nauru’s highest judicial authority is the Supreme Court, headed by a chief justice; members of the court are appointed by the president. The Supreme Court has the authority to interpret the constitution. Appeals are handled by the Appellate Court, which consists of two members. In rare cases, appeals of Supreme Court decisions may be heard by the High Court of Australia. Parliament has no authority to overturn judicial decisions. Below the Appellate Court are the District Court and Family Court, each of which is headed by a resident magistrate. The constitution also provides for two quasi-courts, the Public Service Appeal Board and the Police Appeal Board; the chief justice of the Supreme Court presides over these bodies. Nauru makes extensive use of a traditional reconciliation process, thereby keeping many cases out of the formal judicial system.

At the local level, Nauru is divided into fourteen administrative districts. The Nauru Island Council advises the government on local matters, but it holds little formal political power.

Political Parties and Factions

Nauruan politics is best characterized as a loose multi-party system. Political parties in Nauru have little formal structure, as they are focused largely on the personality of the leader, and do not play a significant role in the island’s politics. Three parties were formed during the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries: the Democratic Party, the Nauru First Party (Naoero Amo), and the Centre Party. However, most candidates for political office run as independents. In the parliamentary elections of 2004, for example, fifteen of eighteen candidates were listed as independents.

For two decades after independence, Nauruan politics was dominated by DeRoburt, the nation’s first president. Since the 1990s Nauru has experienced great political instability as one president after another has been unseated by incessant no-confidence votes.

Major Events

Phosphate mining has been at the center of Nauruan politics throughout its history. In 1967 Nauru purchased the British Phosphate Commission, which had controlled phosphate operations on the island since 1919. The company was nationalized in 1970, becoming the Nauru Phosphate Corporation. Phosphate operations made the tiny island nation one of the richest per capita in the world for nearly two decades. Most Nauruans lived comfortably on the earnings derived from the nation’s phosphate industry—each citizen received a share of the profits—and thus many remained unemployed by choice. By 2000, however, Nauru’s phosphate stores were nearly depleted, and the nation now faces considerable environmental damage.

Twenty-First Century

The depletion of Nauru’s phosphate reserves, its sole source of wealth, has plunged the country into an economic crisis. Whereas Nauru once had the second-highest gross national product per capita, it now faces extreme poverty. The island is dependent on foreign aid, primarily from Australia. In return, Nauru operates a detention center for immigrants seeking asylum in Australia. (Many have been rescued after being stranded at sea while trying to reach Christmas Island, an Australian territory in the Indian Ocean.) Although the government had invested much of its phosphate revenues in a trust fund in anticipation of the inevitable transition away from mining, poor investments and corrupt management left the fund nearly bankrupt by the 1990s. In an attempt to generate income, the island has become an important center for offshore banking, making it an attractive location for money laundering schemes.

McDaniel, Carl N., and John M. Gowdy. Paradise for Sale: A Parable of Nature . Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

“Paradise Well and Truly Lost—Greed, Phosphate and Gross Incompetence in a Tropical Setting: The History of Nauru Really Is Stranger Than Fiction.” The Economist , December 22, 2001.

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Nauru

Nauru

  • Area: 8.1 sq mi (21 sq km) / World Rank: 205
  • Location: Southern and Eastern Hemispheres, in the West-Central Pacific; 33 mi (53 km) from the Equator; 2,200 mi (3,539 km) northeast of Sydney, Australia; 2,445 mi (3,934 km) southwest of Honolulu; nearest neighbor is Banaba, about 190 mi (305 km) to the east
  • Coordinates: 0°32′S, 166°55′E
  • Borders: None
  • Coastline: 18.6 mi (30 km)
  • Territorial Seas: 12 NM
  • Highest Point: At 202 ft (61 m) lies an unnamed central plateau that makes up the highest land mass of the island; no single elevation of note
  • Lowest Point: Sea level
  • Longest Distances: 3.5 mi (5.6 km) NNE-SSW / 2.5 mi (4 km) ESE-WNW
  • Longest River: None of significant size
  • Largest Lake: Buada Lagoon , 300 acres (120 ha)
  • Natural Hazards: Periodic droughts
  • Population: 12,088 (July 2001 est.) / World Rank: 204
  • Capital City: None
  • Largest City: The Yaren district, which functions as the capital, 10,000 (2000 est.)

OVERVIEW

Nauru is an oval-shaped island in the West-Central Pacific Ocean. It is the smallest nation in Asia and is located in the Pacific Plate. The island is encircled by a sandy beach, which gradually rises, forming a fertile section no wider than 300 yards (275 m). A coral cliff rises from this belt to a central plateau.

MOUNTAINS AND HILLS

There are no mountains on the island. A central plateau of phosphate-bearing rock comprises the majority of Nauru's land mass, making it one of the largest phosphate-rock islands in the Pacific.

Districts – Nauru
Name Area (sq mi) Area (sq km)
Alwo 0.4 1.1
Anabar 0.6 1.5
Anetan 0.4 1.0
Anibare 1.2 3.1
Baitsi 0.5 1.2
Boe 0.2 0.5
Buada 1.0 2.6
Denigomodu 0.3 0.9
Ewa 0.5 1.2
Ojuw 0.4 1.1
Meneng 1.2 3.1
Nibok 0.6 1.6
Uaboe 0.3 0.8
Yaren 0.6 1.5
SOURCE : Geo-Data: The World Geographical Encyclopedia, 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale Research, 1989.

INLAND WATERWAYS

The permanent, often brackish, Buada Lagoon (Lake Buada, Blue Lagoon) is the only lake of significance on the island.

THE COAST, ISLANDS, AND THE OCEAN

The island is surrounded by a coral reef, exposed at low tide and dotted with pinnacles. The reef is bounded seaward by deep water, and inside by a sandy beach.

CLIMATE AND VEGETATION

Temperature

Nauru has a tropical climate that is tempered by sea breezes. From November to February is the westerly monsoon season. Temperatures range from 75 to 91°F (23 to 32°C).

Rainfall

Nauru experiences widely variable rainfall: 12 in (30.5 cm) to as much as 180 in (457.2 cm). Rainfall provides the majority of the nation's water supply.

Grasslands

There are large areas of scrub brush on the plateau, with the occasional coconut and tamanu tree. Tropical flowers grow on Nauru, but do not flourish as on other Pacific islands.

HUMAN POPULATION

Nauru has a population of 12,000 with an annual growth rate of 2 percent. There are no cities. The major ethnic groups are: Nauruan, 58 percent; other Pacific Islander, 26 percent; Chinese, 8 percent; European, 8 percent. The major religion is Christianity (two-thirds Protestant, one-third Roman Catholic). In both size and population it is one of the smallest republics in the world.

NATURAL RESOURCES

Phosphates are the only resource native to the island. Fish are abundant off the coast of Nauru, supplying tuna and bonita catches.

FURTHER READINGS

Pacific Island Travel. Nauru. http://www.pacificislandtravel.com/nauru/introduction.html (accessed May 23, 2002).

U.S. Department of State. Background Notes, Nauru. Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of Public Communication, Editorial Division, 1988.

GEO-FACT

Nauru is a member of the Pacific Islands Forum, a group of 16 countries organized in the 1970s in response to France's nuclear testing in French Polynesia. At the turn of the century, the group is facing another environmental crisis—rising sea levels due to global warming. For these low lying islands, the consequences of climate change include destruction of freshwater sources, more intense storms, loss of crops to seawater, and coastal erosion.

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Nauru

Nauru

At a Glance

Official Name: The Republic of Nauru

Continent: Oceania

Area: 8.2 square miles(21 sq km)

Population: 12,088

Capital City: Yaren

Largest City: Yaren (559)

Unit of Money: Australian dollar

Major Languages: Nauruan (official), English

Literacy: 99%

Land Use: 100% other

Natural Resources: Phosphates

Government: Republic

Defense: Australia is responsible for defense

The Place

Nauru is a small, oval island in the Pacific Ocean located about 2,580 miles (4,160 km) southwest of Hawaii, and 40 miles (65 km) south of the equator. It is the third-smallest country in the world.

Most of Nauru is plateau covered with phosphates. Buada Lagoon is in the southern center of the island and is surrounded by fertile land. There is also an area of fertile land along the coast. The island has an average elevation of 200 feet (61 m).

[Image not available for copyright reasons]

Nauru has a hot and humid climate, which is cooled by trade winds. Temperatures range from 76°F (24°C) to 93°F (34°C). About 80 inches (200 cm) of rain fall a year, although sometimes there are droughts.

Vegetation is limited to coconut palms, pandanus, and brush and scrub hardwood. Most plants grow on the coast.

The People

About 58% of Nauru's population are Nauruans—people of mixed Polynesian, Micronesian, and Melanesian descent. Most are Christian and speak mainly Nauruan and English. The rest of the population comes from Kiribati, Tuvalu, China, Australia, and the Philippines. These people come to mine phosphates. Most people live along the coast.

[Image not available for copyright reasons]

The government provides Nauruans with low-rent homes. There are 2 hospitals and 11 clinics that provide free medical care. Life expectancy is 67 years.

All children from ages 6 to 17 must attend school. The country has 5 nursery schools, an elementary school, a high school, a Roman Catholic mission school, and a teacher training college. The government pays the expenses of students who attend college abroad. Some students attend boarding schools in Australia. Nauru has an literacy rate of 99%.

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Nauru

NAURU

Compiled from the December 2003 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.




Official Name:
Republic of Nauru

PROFILE
GEOGRAPHY
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-NAURU RELATIONS
TRAVEL


PROFILE


Geography

Area: 21 sq. km.

Cities: Capital—no official capital; government offices in Yaren District.

Terrain: Sandy beach rises to a fertile but narrow ring around raised coral reefs with phosphate plateau in center.

Climate: tropical; monsoonal; rainy season (November to February).


People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Nauruan (s).

Population: (2002 est.) 12,329.

Annual growth rate: 1.96%.

Ethnic groups: Nauruan 58%, other Pacific Islander 26%, Chinese 8%, European 8%.

Religions: Christian (two-thirds Protestant, one-third Roman Catholic).

Languages: Nauruan, English.

Education: Literacy—99%.

Health: (2002) Infant mortality rate—10.52/1,000. Life expectancy (est.)—61.57 yrs. women 65.26 yrs; men 58.05 yrs.

Work force: No figures available.

Unemployment: No figures available.

Government

Type: Republic.

Constitution: 1968.

Independence: January 31, 1968.

Branches: Executive—president and cabinet. Legislative—unicameral Parliament. Judicial—Supreme Court, Appellate Court, District Court, and Family Court.

Administrative subdivisions: 14 districts.

Political parties: Democratic Party, Naoero Amo (Nauru First) Party.

Central government budget: (1999 est.) $37.2 million.

Suffrage: Universal at age 20.


Economy

GNP: (2001 est.) $60 million.

Per capita GNP: (2001 est.) $5,000.

Avg. inflation rate (1997): -1%. Australian dollar is currency used.

Industry: Types—phosphate mining, offshore banking, and coconut products.

Trade: Exports (1995)—$38.1 million; phosphates. Major export markets—Australia. Imports (1994)—$45.9 million; food, fuel, manufactures, building materials, machinery. Major importers—Australia, New Zealand.

Fiscal year: July 1 to June 30.


GEOGRAPHY

Nauru is a small oval-shaped island in the western Pacific Ocean, located just 42 kilometers (26 mi.) south of the Equator. It is one of three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean—the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia—though its phosphate reserves are nearly depleted. Phosphate mining in the central plateau has left a barren terrain of jagged coral pinnacles, up to 15 meters (49 ft.) high. A century of mining has stripped and devastated four-fifths of the total land area.

The island is surrounded by a coral reef, exposed at low tide and dotted with pinnacles. The reef is bounded seaward by deep water, inside by a sandy beach. A 150-300-meter (492-984 ft.) wide fertile coastal strip lies landward from the beach. Coral cliffs surround the central plateau. The highest point of the plateau is 65 meters (213 ft.) above sea level. The only fertile areas are the narrow coastal belt, where there are coconut palms, pandanus trees and indigenous hardwoods, and the land surrounding Buada lagoon, where bananas, pineapples, and some vegetables are grown. Some secondary vegetation grows over the coral pinnacles.


PEOPLE

Nauruans descended from Polynesian and Micronesian seafarers. Grouped in clans or tribes, early Nauruans traced their descent on the female side. They believed in a female deity, Eijebong, and a spirit land, also an island, called Buitani. Two of the 12 original tribal groups became extinct during the 20th century.




HISTORY

Nauru had little contact with Europeans until whaling ships and other traders began to visit in the 1830s. The introduction of firearms and alcohol destroyed the peaceful coexistence of the 12 tribes living on the island. A 10-year internal war began in 1878 and resulted in a reduction of the population from 1,400 (1843) to around 900 (1888).

The island was allocated to Germany under the 1886 Anglo-German Convention. Phosphate was discovered a decade later and the Pacific Phosphate Company started to exploit the reserves in 1906, by agreement with Germany. Following the outbreak of World War I, the island was captured by Australian forces in 1914. After the war the League of Nations gave Britain, Australia, and New Zealand a trustee mandate over the territory. The three governments established the British Phosphate Commissioners, who took over the rights to phosphate mining.

During World War II Japan occupied Nauru in August 1942 and deported 1,200 Nauruans to work as laborers in the Caroline Islands, where 463 died. The survivors returned to Nauru in January 1946.

After the war the island became a UN Trust Territory under Australia, in line with the previous League of Nations mandate, and it remained one until independence in 1968. A plan by the partner governments to resettle the Nauruans (because of disappearing phosphate and damage to the island caused by extensive mining) on Curtis Island, off the north coast of Queensland, Australia, was abandoned in 1964 when the islanders decided to stay put. In 1967, the Nauruans purchased the assets of the British Phosphate Commissioners and in June 1970 control passed to the Nauru Phosphate Corporation. Nauru became an independent Republic in 1968.

In 1989 Nauru filed suit against Australia in the International Court of Justice in The Hague for damages caused by mining while the island was under Australian jurisdiction. Australia settled the case out of court in 1993, agreeing to pay A$109 million (U.S.$72.6 million) and to assist Nauru with environmental rehabilitation.




GOVERNMENT

The country is governed by a unicameral Parliament consisting of 18 members elected at least triennially from 14 constituencies. Parliament elects the president, who is both chief of state and head of government, from among its members. The president appoints a Cabinet from among Parliament.

For its size, Nauru has a complex legal system. The Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of Nauru, is paramount on constitutional issues, but other cases can be appealed to the two-judge Appellate Court. Parliament cannot overturn court decisions, but Appellate Court rulings can be appealed to Australia's High Court; in practice, however, this rarely happens. Lower courts consist of the District Court and the Family Court, both of which are headed by a Resident Magistrate, who also is the Registrar of the Supreme Court. Finally, there also are two quasicourts—the Public Service Appeal Board and the Police Appeal Board— both of which are presided over by the Chief Justice.


There are no armed forces, although there is a small police force (less than 100 members) under civilian control.


Principal Government Officials
Last Updated: 8/29/03


President: Harris, Rene

Min. Assisting the President: Gioura, Derog

Min. of Education: Stephen, Marcus

Min. of Finance: Stephen, Marcus

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Harris, Rene

Min. of Good Governance: Gioura, Derog

Min. of Health: Harris, Rene

Min. of Island Development & Industry: Namaduk, Remy

Min. of Justice: Thoma, Godfrey

Min. of Nauru Fisheries & Natural Resources: Thoma, Godfrey

Min. of Public Service: Harris, Rene

Min. of Women's Affairs: Gioura, Derog

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Clodumar, Vinci Niel



Nauru does not have an embassy in the United States but does have a UN Mission at 800 2d Ave, Suite 400D, New York, New York 10017 (tel: 212-937-0074, fax: 212-937-0079).




POLITICAL CONDITIONS

As turmoil grows over Nauru's uncertain future and economic failures, no-confidence votes that spur a change of government have become common. In 1997 Nauru had four different presidents in as many months. The political situation has not stabilized as President Harris assumed power in August 2003 for the third separate time.




ECONOMY

The economy depends almost entirely on the country's declining phosphate deposits. These were depleted in 2000 on a largescale commercial basis; however, smallscale mining is still occurring. The government-owned Nauru Phosphate Corporation (NPC) controls the mining industry. Many of the miners are contract workers from Kiribati and Tuvalu. The government places a large percentage of the NPC's earnings in long-term investments meant to support the citizenry after the phosphate reserves have been exhausted; many of these investments have not panned out, while those that have succeeded have often been used as collateral for loans, eroding their value. In the years after independence, Nauru possessed the highest GDP per capita in the world due to its rich phosphate deposits. Nauru now lacks money to perform many of the basic functions of government. A history of bad investments includes a failed play in London and the purchase of the once-luxurious Grand Pacific Hotel in Fiji. Financial mismanagement, corruption, and a shortage of basic goods, electricity, and water have resulted in some domestic unrest, such as demonstrations outside of Parliament. Air Nauru, the country's link to the outside world, has been periodically grounded in recent years due to problems paying for proper maintenance of its sole aircraft.

Lacking other resources, the government has turned to passport sales and laxly administered offshore banking to raise badly needed revenue. Both schemes have drawn strong international criticism as potentially aiding and abetting criminal and terrorist groups. The Nauru Agency Corporation administers Nauru's offshore banking sector. Nauru has been cited by the Financial Action Task Force as a noncooperative jurisdiction in the fight against money laundering.




FOREIGN RELATIONS

Following independence in 1968, Nauru joined the Commonwealth as a Special Member. Special Members take part in all Commonwealth activities except heads of government meetings. They are not assessed but make voluntary contributions toward the running of the Secretariat. They are eligible for all forms of technical assistance.

Nauru was admitted to the United Nations in 1999. It is a member of the Pacific Islands Forum, the South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme, the South Pacific Commission, and the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission.

In 2001 Nauru became host to approximately 1,000 asylum seekers, mostly Afghan, who were intercepted while attempting to enter Australia illegally. A total of 549 of them remain on the island—318 of these have agreed to return to Afghanistan after receiving a cash package from Australia. Nauru reportedly received about $10 million in assistance from Australia in exchange for agreeing to house the refugees while their asylum applications are adjudicated.

During 2002 Nauru severed diplomatic recognition with Taiwan and signed an agreement to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. This move followed China's promise to provide more than U.S.$130 million in aid.




U.S.-NAURU RELATIONS

The United States has no consular or diplomatic offices in Nauru. Officers of the American Embassy in Suva, Fiji, are concurrently accredited to Nauru and make periodic visits.

While resisting U.S. and other international pressure with regards to passport sales and shell banks, Nauru is generally supportive of U.S. positions at the United Nations and other international fora.

Trade between the United States and Nauru is limited due to the latter's small size and economic problems. In 2001, U.S. exports to Nauru totaled $4.2 million while U.S. imports from Nauru totaled $0.1 million.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Suva, Fiji (E), 31 Loftus St. • P.O. Box 218, Tel [679] 331-4466, Fax 330-0081; EXEC Fax 330-3872; CON Fax 330-2267; ADM Fax 330-5106; DAO Fax 331-2603; PAO Fax 330-8685. E-mail: [email protected]

AMB: David L. Lyon
AMB OMS: Rosmary M. Patterson
DCM: Hugh M. Neighbour
POL/ECO: Edmond E. Seay III
ECO/COM: John Emery
CON: Kirk Lindly
MGT: Jeffery Robertson
DAO: MAJ Matthew P. Bragg, USMC
FAA: Chris Metts (res. Tokyo)
IRS: Karen Sena (res. Singapore)
DEA: Gene Susimoto (res. Canberra)
RSO: Wade Burton
IRM: Ryan C. Rhea
GSO: Emily A. Mestetsky


Last Modified: Monday, December 15, 2003




TRAVEL


Consular Information Sheet
September 3, 2003


Country Description: Nauru, a small single-island nation in the South Pacific, is located about 25 miles south of the equator. It is a constitutional republic with a parliamentary system of government. Tourist facilities are available on a limited basis. Yaren, the capital, has an international airport.

Entry and Exit Requirements: A passport, visa, onward/return ticket, and proof of hotel bookings (or sponsorship from a resident of Nauru) are required for tourists. Tourist visas are issued for a maximum of thirty days. Travelers transiting with valid ticket/onward destination do not require a visa, provided that the first connecting flight departs within three days of arrival in Nauru. Business visitors must have a visa and a local sponsor. Nauru collects a departure tax that must be paid in cash and in Australian dollars. For more information on entry/exit requirements, travelers may wish to contact the Nauru Consulate General in Melbourne, Australia at telephone (613) 9653-5709, fax (613) 9654-4738.

Safety and Security: For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet website at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found.

The Overseas Citizens Services call center at 1-888-407-4747 can answer general inquiries on safety and security overseas. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.

Crime Information: Nauru has a low crime rate. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fijiat (679) 331-4466 (ask for American Citizen Services). If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the U.S. Embassy for assistance. The Embassy staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, "A Safe Trip Abroad," for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C. 20402, via the Internet at www.gpoaccess.gov, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs' website, http://travel.state.gov.

Medical Facilities: Health care facilities in the Republic of Nauru are adequate for routine medical problems, but very limited. Serious medical conditions requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, "Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad," available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs' website or autofax: (202) 647-3000.

Other Health Information: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's website at c. Further health information for travelers is available at www.who.int/ith.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Nauru is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance:

Safety of Public Transportation: No Public Transportation
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Limited

Traffic moves on the left in Nauru. The main road circling the island is paved, but the remaining roads are unpaved. There is no organized roadside assistance, though there are a number of mechanics and car repair facilities on the island. Animals and pedestrians walking in the road make night driving hazardous.

Aviation Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Nauru's civil aviation authority as Category 2 - not in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Nauru's air carrier operations. While consultations to correct the deficiencies are ongoing, Nauru's air carriers are permitted to conduct limited operations to the U.S. subject to heightened FAA surveillance. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's website, www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD's policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.

Customs Regulations: Nauru's customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Nauru of items such as foodstuffs, animals, and pornographic materials. It is advisable to contact the Nauru Consulate General in Melbourne, Australia for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Nauru law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.

Consular Access: U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that, if questioned by local officials proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available. If detained, U.S. citizens are encouraged to request that a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji be notified.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone the Overseas Citizens Services call center at 1-888-407-4747. The OCS call center can answer general inquiries regarding international adoptions and will forward calls to the appropriate country officer in the Bureau of Consular Affairs.

Registration/Embassy Location: There is no U.S. Embassy or diplomatic post in Nauru. The U.S. Embassy in Fiji provides assistance for U.S. citizens in Nauru. It is located at 31 Loftus street in Fiji's capital city of Suva. The telephone number is (679) 331-4-466; the fax number is (679) 330-2-267. Americans may register with the U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji and obtain up-to-date information on travel and security in Nauru from the Embassy. Information may also be obtained by visiting the Embassy's home page at www.amembassy-fiji.gov.

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Nauru

Nauru

POPULATION 12,329
CHRISTIAN 84 percent
BUDDHIST 15 percent
OTHER 1 percent

Country Overview

INTRODUCTION

The Republic of Nauru, a single, raised coral island located in the Pacific Ocean, is 26 miles south of the equator and 165 miles east of its nearest neighbor, Ocean Island. With an area of just over 8 square miles, it is roughly circular and has a 22-mile-long coastline and narrow shore. Because of phosphate mining, which began in 1906, the interior four-fifths of the island now consists primarily of coral pinnacles and is unusable and cannot be traversed.

The people of Nauru are usually considered Micronesian, though their language differs markedly from all others in Oceania. The British explored the island in 1798, and it was annexed by Germany in 1888. At about the same time, Christian missionaries were sent to introduce Christianity. In 1906 phosphate mining commenced to supply the agricultural interests of Australia and New Zealand. The island was taken over by the British Phosphate Commissioners as a League of Nations Mandate in 1919, with administration in the hands of the Australians. Nauruans had no say in this political move for outsider's economic gains. Japan occupied the island during World War II, after which Nauru became a United Nations trust territory. It became independent in 1968. The phosphate was expected to run out in 1996, but a small amount is still being mined.

Although the island is predominantly Christian, there are small numbers of Buddhists and members of other faiths. Nauruans comprise two-thirds of the total population, with Chinese, Filipinos, Indians, Australians, and New Zealanders making up the rest.

RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE

Although firmly Christian, Nauruans are tolerant of other religions, such as the Hindu practices of the small number of Indians working in government administrative positions. Nauruan government policy, however, has restricted access to most other religions, so the proliferation of non-conformist Christian churches, such as Seventh-day Adventists, which is found in many other Pacific Islands, has not happened on Nauru.

Major Religion

CHRISTIANITY

DATE OF ORIGIN 1887 a.d.
NUMBER OF FOLLOWERS 10,400

HISTORY

Congregational Christianity was introduced to Nauru in the 1880s by missionaries from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM), based in Boston, and was readily received by the Nauruans. Three teachers from Kiribati (Gilber Islands) arrived on Nauru in 1887, and one of these pastors remained in charge of the mission until 1899. The mission schooner, the Morning Star, maintained contact with the Marshall Islands and Kosrae for supplies and spiritual support. It thus brought new missionaries from time to time, many of whom were from other islands in the Pacific. Christianity introduced the Nauruans to new ideologies and tenets, but they were adapted to include elements of traditional beliefs. These included cosmological beliefs in the original settlement of the island from the east and the existence of ancestral spirits in two rocks and caves, now removed by mining. The practice of capturing and nurturing frigate birds by specialist members of each clan as symbols of the beliefs and strength of that clan was the basis of a cult that continues to this day. The spiritual leadership of the chiefly class formed the basis of cooperation between the Nauruans and the missionaries. The Reverend Philip. Delaporte, sent to Nauru in 1899 by the ABCFM, gained the confidence of the Nauruans and successfully established a church and school.

The island's German administration favored the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church and sent Father Felix Grundl and Father P. Alois Kayser of the Order of the Sacred Heart to Nauru in 1903. Strong rivalry developed between the two religions, with each offering education and social services in addition to their pastorates. Father Kayser remained on Nauru, and he worked with other Catholic priests until he was deported by the Japanese in 1943.

The London Missionary Society (LMS) took over from the ABCFM in 1917 and continued to build the Congregational Church under a Nauruan pastor, Jacob Aroi, who was assisted by some of the local chiefs. Thus, the church became a Nauruan institution, even after an LMS pastor, Rev. Hannah, took over the mission. By 1925, of a total population of 1,239 Nauruans, 775 were Protestants, and 365 were Roman Catholics.

Throughout the twentieth century the phosphate mining industry was run on both Nauru and Ocean Island by the British phosphate commissioners (BPC). In 1970 Nauru sought control of the mine along with its political independence. Australia had been the administering nation on behalf of BPC but shared the profits from the sale of Nauruan phosphate with Britain and New Zealand as lesser partners in BPC. The mine attracted workers to Nauru from other Pacific nations, as well as from China, India, and the Philippines, thus bringing in diverse religious practices. People from both Kiribati and Tuvalu have their own Protestant churches, and those from Kiribati also have their own Catholic church.

EARLY AND MODERN LEADERS

Nauru is notable among Pacific Island nations for having produced several strong, well-educated political leaders who were also firm upholders of Christian principles. In the 1920s Rev. Delaporte took Timothy Detudamo to Boston, where Detudamo learned valuable administrative skills. Detudamo was a young Nauruan (not a traditional leader) who had assisted Delaporte in his translations of the Bible into the Nauruan language. After four years in Boston, he returned home to establish a cooperative store in competition with the BPC store run by the Australians. He was jailed for this but gained recognition as a leader of the Nauruan people. As the Nauruan administrator, Detudamo effectively negotiated with the British phosphate commissioners to gain Nauruan rights. He was succeeded by Hammer DeRoburt, who later became the first president of Nauru and who was a strong upholder of the Protestant faith.

MAJOR THEOLOGIANS AND AUTHORS

Father P. Alois Kayser is well remembered for the Catholic principles he promoted through Nauru's Sacred Heart Mission. He also wrote extensively on the language, traditions, and culture of the Nauruan people at the beginning of the twentieth century. The Reverend Philip Delaporte was another important figure, producing a short Nauru-German dictionary and translations of the New Testament, a Nauru hymn book, and a German hymn book.

Since the 1980s the Reverend James Angimea has been an outstanding leader of the Congregational Church on Nauru. He is pastor of the main church on the island and is recognized for his commitment to improving the social status of Nauruans.

HOUSES OF WORSHIP AND HOLY PLACES

The main Protestant church is located in central Aiwo, the main district of Nauru where business activity and the port are situated. In contrast, the Catholic church complex has developed in the northwest corner of the island. All modern church structures are built of concrete, with cemeteries surrounding them.

WHAT IS SACRED?

The foundation of the Protestant faith in Nauru, as elsewhere, is the sacredness of the Bible and its teachings, including the Godhead and all its spiritual aspects. Churches and cemeteries are places of reverence, with the latter being a matter of particular concern, as the small island is running out of space for them.

Christian beliefs dominate on Nauru, but even among Christians, many native beliefs also persist, particularly as spirits associated with the environment. The cultivation of Ibija fish (Chanos chanos) also follows ancient ritual and symbolic ideologies; these fish are served by the appropriate clan at festivities. Two sacred rocks, representing the founding ancestors of all Nauruans, were removed by mining, but their memory remains part of Nauruan cultural identity. The Nauruan culture maintains a close identification with birds as representatives of ancestral ties; the frigate bird is the national symbol and appears prominently on Air Nauru planes.

HOLIDAYS AND FESTIVALS

As in most Christian cultures, Christmas and Easter are observed on Nauru as the major religious and public holidays. Both celebrations last several days and are marked by attendance at a series of church services, interspersed with much feasting and gift exchanges. Notable is the wearing of white by women and children, with hats specially purchased in Australia for the occasion. Weddings and funerals are islandwide festivals, with most of the population participating.

MODE OF DRESS

Modern dress on Nauru is not directly influenced by religion. In the early days, however, missionaries forbade the wearing of the traditional ridi, a mat woven of pandanus leaves. They introduced long, white cotton dresses for women and suits for men.

Today women's Sunday attire for church is changing from traditional white dresses and hats to fashionable dresses from Australia. Men, especially church deacons, wear dark suits. Everyday clothing ranges from jeans and T-shirts to suits and fashionable office wear.

DIETARY PRACTICES

Religion has little influence on the dietary practices of Christian Nauruans. There are no specific dietary practices observed on Nauru. Food is blessed before a meal, particularly at a civic event.

RITUALS

Religious rituals on Nauru are syncretic, combining traditional ceremonies with Christian celebrations, as in weddings and funerals and first Communion for Catholics. Raising Ibija fish in the Buada lagoon and the capture and feeding of frigate birds on special platforms are cultural events that have been retained alongside Christianity.

RITES OF PASSAGE

In earlier times the birth of a child was less celebrated than the onset of a girl's first menses, an event promising ongoing fertility for the Nauruan people. This occasion was commemorated with a feast. The birth of the 1,500th Nauruan in 1933 is still commemorated as a national holiday, with religious and civil ceremonies; it reminds the Nauruan people of the struggles they had in the past to build their population. Today births rather than first menses are celebrated with both civic and Christian events, including baptism. For Catholics first Communion is an important event for each family member.

The death of a community member is marked by a series of ceremonies conducted over a period of time. After the church service for the dead, several rituals are performed that combine Christian and traditional beliefs. Cemeteries are located near churches, as well as near the residences of the main clan families. The use of scarce land for cemeteries has been a matter of considerable debate involving the future development of the island's resources.

MEMBERSHIP

Church membership is less universal than in the past, as today's young people question its value in their lives. Yet both Congregational and Catholic churches are full on Sundays, with members attending two or three other services during the week. In both churches the women's fellowship endeavors to reach young people and organizes social activities.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

Each church serves as an advocate for its members. Concerns about land, payments from the Nauru Trust Fund, and the rights of immigrants working for the Nauru Phosphate Company are advocated largely through church supporters. Of the several trust funds established with royalties paid to Nauruan land-owners for the phosphate extracted from their lands since the 1920s, the Nauru Trust Fund was expected to provide the families of these landowners with much needed cash. But the liquidity of the Nauru Trust Fund and the other funds is in serious doubt, owing to poor investment advice. The funds were established by the British Phosphate Commission, which set aside a small proportion of earnings from the sale of phosphate. One fund was used by the Australian administration to pay for administrative costs, another was set aside for rehabilitation of the mined areas, and yet another was designated as the Nauruan Community Long-term Investment Fund. The Nauruan government, in conjunction with the Nauru Phosphate Company, has taken control of these funds after independence.

SOCIAL ASPECTS

The churches are an integral part of Nauruan community life, and their representatives are prominent at social events, where they offer the blessing for the day and, especially, for the food. Church representatives serve as a channel for developing leadership, as well as for expression of social concerns. The churches were the first to introduce formal Western-style education. For today's older family members church membership is still a central part of their lives. For many young people, however, religion is less important. The Sabbath is a day for relaxing, going to the one small beach, or having picnics in the center of the island; adults will attend church in the morning or evening, taking very young children. The women's groups of both the Protestant and Catholic churches try to encourage the young people to attend Sunday school.

POLITICAL IMPACT

Christianity has been a significant influence on the modern state of Nauru. An early visitor in the 1860s referred to the island as the Garden of Eden for its lush vegetation and friendly population. In the 1990s a prominent Nauruan politician picked up this reference in describing how Nauru's environment should be restored after mining is completed on the island.

Strong leaders have been groomed by the church to follow Protestant principles. Each of Nauru's 12 districts has at least one church, though many Nauruans travel to the main Protestant church in Aiwo, where Rev. Aingamea presides. He carries on the tradition instituted by Timothy Detudamo in the 1920s of providing a moral platform for the people.

Many of the leaders of the 1950s and 1960s were educated at church schools in Australia and thus brought back to Nauru strong moral principles. The churches had direct political influence through their connection with the Nauru Local Government Council until that was disestablished in the mid-l990s. Religious ideology has thus been one of the attributes that a budding politician includes in his platform.

CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES

Population growth was a major goal for Nauru during the early twentieth century. This policy has continued, despite attempts by outsiders, including missionaries, to reduce the birth rate on many other Pacific Islands. Unlike many Pacific Island nations, Nauru has a very small proportion of its population living overseas.

In contrast to the patriarchal base of Christianity, each child in Nauru becomes a member of its mother's lineage. Those children not born of a Nauruan mother have no direct rights either to land or to the trust funds, which is a matter of particular concern to men who have married non-Nauruan women. The persistence of phosphate mining is also a major and highly contentious issue among religious and political leaders as well as the Nauruan people, as the Nauruan economy is almost solely dependent on this nearly depleted resource.

CULTURAL IMPACT

Protestant churches are a central feature in each of the 12 districts around the island. They offer a meeting place for both secular and religious events and are used for youth group activities, women's group meetings, and public discussions. Women's church committees have been active in hosting foreign visitors, in maintaining connections with churches in Australia (mainly in the Melbourne area), and in providing forums for political discussions. They are the pivotal group for organizing the annual meeting of all the Protestant churches on the island and for sending delegates to Kiribati and Fiji for meetings of the Council of Churches. Church music has been adopted from Australian sources, and the influence of Australia can also be seen in other aspects of Nauruan life, including church architecture.

Other Religions

Chinese brought in to work in the phosphate mines in 1906 still retain their Buddhist practices within the confines of their own community. Until the 1950s Chinese workers on Nauru were not allowed to bring their families to the island, as Nauruans did not want them to establish a permanent Chinese community. After a United Nations Trusteeship Council debate in 1947, Australia continued the policy of restricting the Chinese population; this policy was lifted only when Nauru won independence in 1968. Since 1970 the Chinese population on Nauru has increased.

There are a small number of Bahai on Nauru, as well as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). The latter has a smaller presence on Nauru than elsewhere in the Pacific. Indian and Southeast Asian workers observe their own religious (e.g., Hindu and Muslim) practices from their homes.

Nancy J. Pollock

See Also Vol. 1: Buddhism, Christianity

Bibliography

Kayser, Alois P. "Die Eingeborenen von Nauru (Sudsee)." Anthropos 12–13 (1917–18).

Kretzschmar, K.E. Nauru. Cyclostyled, 1913.

Viviani, Nancy. Nauru, Phosphate and Political Progress. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1970.

Wedgwood, Camilla. "Report on Research Work in Nauru Island." Parts 1 and 2. Oceania6 (June 1936); 7 (September 1936).

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Nauru

NAURU

Compiled from the December 2004 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Republic of Nauru


PROFILE

Geography

Area: 21 sq. km.

Cities: Capital—no official capital; government offices in Yaren District.

Terrain: Sandy beach rises to a fertile but narrow ring around raised coral reefs with phosphate plateau in center.

Climate: tropical; monsoonal; rainy season (November to February).

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Nauruan (s).

Population: (2004 est.) 7,500 Nauruans, 2,500 foreign workers.

Annual growth rate: 1.3%.

Ethnic groups: Nauruan 58%, other Pacific Islander 26%, Chinese 8%, European 8%.

Religions: Christian (two-thirds Protestant, one-third Roman Catholic).

Languages: Nauruan, English.

Education: (2004) Literacy—97%.

Health: (2002) Infant mortality rate—10.52/1,000. Life expectancy (est.)—61.57 yrs. women 65.26 yrs; men 58.05 yrs.

Work force: (2004 est.) 4,500.

Unemployment: (2004 est.) 90%.

Government

Type: Republic.

Constitution: 1968.

Independence: January 31, 1968.

Branches: Executive—president and cabinet. Legislative—unicameral Parliament. Judicial—Supreme Court, Appellate Court, District Court, and Family Court.

Administrative subdivisions: 14 districts.

Political parties: Naoero Amo (Nauru First) Party.

Central government budget: (2004 est.) $10.0 million.

Suffrage: Universal at age 20.

Economy

GDP: (2004 est.) $1 million [Note: Nauru is receiving over A$25 million (US$20 million) support a year from Australia.]

Per capita GDP: (2004 est.) $100.

Avg. inflation rate: (2004 est.)-4%. Australian dollar is currency used in Nauru.

Industry: Types—phosphate mining, fishing.

Trade: Exports (2004 est.)—$640,000; phosphates. Major export markets—Japan. Imports (2004 est.)—$19.8 million; food, fuel, manufactures. Major import sources—Australia.

Fiscal year: July 1 to June 30.


GEOGRAPHY

Nauru is a small oval-shaped island in the western Pacific Ocean, located just 42 kilometers (26 mi.) south of the Equator. It is one of three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean—the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia—though its phosphate reserves are nearly depleted. Phosphate mining in the central plateau has left a barren terrain of jagged coral pinnacles, up to 15 meters (49 ft.) high. A century of mining has stripped and devastated four-fifths of the total land area.

The island is surrounded by a coral reef, exposed at low tide and dotted with pinnacles. The reef is bounded seaward by deep water, inside by a sandy beach. A 150-300-meter (492-984 ft.) wide fertile coastal strip lies landward from the beach. Coral cliffs surround the central plateau. The highest point of the plateau is 65 meters (213 ft.) above sea level. The only fertile areas are the narrow coastal belt, where there are coconut palms, pandanus trees, and indigenous hardwoods, and the land surrounding Buada lagoon, where bananas, pineapples, and some vegetables are grown. Some secondary vegetation grows over the coral pinnacles.


PEOPLE

Nauruans descended from Polynesian and Micronesian seafarers. Grouped in clans or tribes, early Nauruans traced their descent on the female side. They believed in a female deity, Eijebong, and a spirit land, also an island, called Buitani. Two of the 12 original tribal groups became extinct during the 20th century. Because of poor diet, alcohol abuse, and unemployment, Nauru has the world's highest level of diabetes, renal failure and heart disease, exceeding 40% of the population.


HISTORY

Nauru had little contact with Europeans until whaling ships and other traders began to visit in the 1830s. The introduction of firearms and alcohol destroyed the peaceful coexistence of the 12 tribes living on the island. A 10-year internal war began in 1878 and resulted in a reduction of the population from 1,400 (1843) to around 900 (1888).

The island was allocated to Germany under the 1886 Anglo-German Convention. Phosphate was discovered a decade later and the Pacific Phosphate Company started to exploit the reserves in 1906, by agreement with Germany. Following the outbreak of World War I, the island was captured by Australian forces in 1914. After the war the League of Nations gave Britain, Australia, and New Zealand a trustee mandate over the territory. The three governments established the British Phosphate Commissioners, who took over the rights to phosphate mining.

During World War II Japan occupied Nauru in August 1942 and deported 1,200 Nauruans to work as laborers in the Caroline Islands, where 463 died. The survivors returned to Nauru in January 1946.

After the war the island became a UN Trust Territory under Australia, in line with the previous League of Nations mandate, and it remained one until independence in 1968. A plan by the partner governments to resettle the Nauruans (because of disappearing phosphate and damage to the island caused by extensive mining) on Curtis Island, off the north coast of Queensland, Australia, was abandoned in 1964 when the islanders decided to stay put. In 1967, the Nauruans purchased the assets of the British Phosphate Commissioners and in June 1970 control passed to the Nauru Phosphate Corporation. Nauru became an independent republic in 1968.

In 1989 Nauru filed suit against Australia in the International Court of Justice in The Hague for damages caused by mining while the island was under Australian jurisdiction. Australia settled the case out of court in 1993, agreeing to pay A$107 million (U.S.$85.6 million) and to assist Nauru with environmental rehabilitation.


GOVERNMENT

The country is governed by a unicameral Parliament consisting of 18 members elected at least triennially from 14 constituencies. Parliament elects the president, who is both chief of state and head of government, from among its members. The president appoints a Cabinet from among Parliament.

For its size, Nauru has a complex legal system. The Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of Nauru, is paramount on constitutional issues, but other cases can be appealed to the two-judge Appellate Court. Parliament cannot overturn court decisions, but Appellate Court rulings can be appealed to Australia's High Court; in practice, however, this rarely happens. Lower courts consist of the District Court and the Family Court, both of which are headed by a Resident Magistrate, who also is the Registrar of the Supreme Court. Finally, there also are two quasi-courts—the Public Service Appeal Board and the Police Appeal Board—both of which are presided over by the Chief Justice.

There are no armed forces, although there is a small police force (less than 100 members) under civilian control.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 11/29/04

President: Scotty , Ludwig
Min. Assisting the President: Adeang , David
MIn. for Civil Aviation: Scotty , Ludwig
Min. for Culture & Tourism: Keke , Kieren, Dr.
Min. for Customs: Adeang , David
Min. for Education & Vocational Training: Waqa , Baron
Min. for Finance: Adeang , David
Min. for Foreign Affairs: Adeang , David
Min. for Health: Keke , Kieren, Dr.
Min. for Internal Affairs: Adeang , David
Min. for Immigration: Thoma , Godfrey
Min. for Island Development & Industry: Pitcher , Frederick
Min. for Justice: Thoma , Godfrey
Min. for Nauru Fisheries & Natural Resources: Thoma , Godfrey
Min. for Public Service: Scotty , Ludwig
Min. for Public Works: Waqa , Baron
Min. for Shipping: Keke , Kieren, Dr.
Min. for Sports: Thoma , Godfrey
Min. for Women's Affairs: Keke , Kieren, Dr.
Min. for Youth Affairs: Waqa , Baron
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Clodumar , Vinci Niel

Nauru does not currently have an embassy in the United States but does have a UN Mission at 800 2d Ave, Suite 400D, New York, New York 10017 (tel: 212-937-0074, fax: 212-937-0079).


POLITICAL CONDITIONS

As turmoil grows over Nauru's uncertain future and economic failures, noconfidence votes that spur a change of government have become common. In 1997 Nauru had four different presidents in as many months. Ludwig Scotty was reelected in October 2004.


ECONOMY

The economy depends almost entirely on the country's declining phosphate deposits. These were depleted in 2000 on a largescale commercial basis; however, smallscale mining is still occurring. The government-owned Nauru Phosphate Corporation (NPC) controls the mining industry. Many of the miners are contract workers from Kiribati and Tuvalu.

The government places a large percentage of the NPC's earnings in long-term investments meant to support the citizenry after the phosphate reserves have been exhausted; many of these investments have not panned out, while those that have succeeded have often been used as collateral for loans, eroding their value. In the years after independence, Nauru possessed the highest GDP per capita in the world due to its rich phosphate deposits. Nauru now lacks money to perform many of the basic functions of government. A history of bad investments includes a failed play in London and the purchase of the once-luxurious Grand Pacific Hotel in Fiji. Financial mismanagement, corruption, and a shortage of basic goods, electricity, and water have resulted in some domestic unrest, such as demonstrations outside of Parliament. Air Nauru, the country's link to the outside world, has been periodically grounded in recent years due to problems paying for proper maintenance of its sole aircraft.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Following independence in 1968, Nauru joined the Commonwealth as a Special Member. Special Members take part in all Commonwealth activities except heads of government meetings. They are not assessed but make voluntary contributions toward the running of the Secretariat. They are eligible for all forms of technical assistance.

Nauru was admitted to the United Nations in 1999. It is a member of the Pacific Islands Forum, the South Pacific Regional Environmental Programme, the South Pacific Commission, and the South Pacific Applied Geoscience Commission.

In 2001 Nauru became host to approximately 1,000 asylum seekers, mostly Afghan, who were intercepted while attempting to enter Australia illegally. A total of 67 remain on the island. Nauru reportedly received about $10 million in assistance from Australia in exchange for agreeing to house the refugees while their asylum applications are adjudicated.

During 2002 Nauru severed diplomatic recognition with Taiwan and signed an agreement to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. This move followed China's promise to provide more than U.S.$130 million in aid.


U.S.-NAURU RELATIONS

The United States has no consular or diplomatic offices in Nauru. Officers of the American Embassy in Suva, Fiji, are concurrently accredited to Nauru and make periodic visits.

Trade between the United States and Nauru is limited due to the latter's small size and economic problems. In 2004, U.S. trade with Nauru was negligible.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

SUVA (E) Address: 31 Loftus Street, Suva; Phone: 00679-331-4466; Fax: 00679-330-5106; INMARSAT Tel: 00679-330-1064; Workweek: 0800-1700; Website: www.Amembassy-Fiji.gov

AMB:David L. Lyon
AMB OMS:Rosmary M. Patterson
DCM:Vacant
POL:Edmond E. Seay
COM:John B. Emery
CON:Kirk D. Lindly
MGT:Jeffrey J. Robertson
AFSA:Ryan C. Rhea
CLO:Kelli Lewis
DAO:Vacant
ECO:Edmond E. Seay
EEO:John B. Emery
FMO:Jeffrey J. Robertson
GSO:Vacant
ICASS Chair:Kirk D. Lindly
IMO:Ryan C. Rhea
ISO:Ryan C. Rhea
ISSO:Ryan C. Rhea
PAO:John B. Emery
RSO:Wade W. Burton
Last Updated: 8/17/2004

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

December 8, 2004

Country Description: Nauru, a small single-island nation in the South Pacific, is located about 25 miles south of the equator. It is a constitutional republic with a parliamentary system of government. Tourist facilities are available on a limited basis. Yaren, the capital, has an international airport.

Entry/Exit Requirements: A passport, visa, onward/return ticket, and proof of hotel bookings

(or sponsorship from a resident of Nauru) are required for tourists. Tourist visas are issued for a maximum of thirty days. Travelers transiting with valid ticket/onward destination do not require a visa, provided that the first connecting flight departs within three days of arrival in Nauru. Business visitors must have a visa and a local sponsor. Nauru collects a departure tax that must be paid in cash and in Australian dollars. For more information on entry/exit requirements, travelers may wish to contact the Nauru Consulate General in Melbourne, Australia, at telephone (613) 9653-5709, fax (613) 9654-4738.

Safety and Security: For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up to date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1 (888) 407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1 (317) 472-2328. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad.

Crime: Nauru has a low crime rate. However, visitors should not be complacent regarding personal safety or the protection of valuables.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while over-seas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney, if needed. See our information on Victims of Crime at http://travel.state.gov/travel/brochure_victim_assistance.html.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Health care facilities in the Republic of Nauru are adequate for routine medical problems, but very limited in availability. Serious medical conditions requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) web-site at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Nauru is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Traffic moves on the left in Nauru. The main road circling the island is paved, but the remaining roads are unpaved. There is no organized roadside assistance, although there are a number of mechanics and car repair facilities on the island. Animals and pedestrians walking in the road make night driving hazardous.

For specific information concerning Nauru driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Nauru Consulate General in Melbourne, Australia at telephone (613) 9653-5709, fax (613) 9654-4738. Please refer to our Road Safety page at http://travel.state.gov/travel/abroadroad-safety.html for more information.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Nauru as not being in compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards for oversight of Nauru's air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's internet web site, http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.

Special Circumstances: In Nauru, the Australian dollar is the legal currency. Traveler's checks and all major currencies are accepted by banks and may also be exchanged for local currency at some local hotels.

Nauru's customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Nauru of items such as foodstuffs, animals, and pornographic materials. It is advisable to contact the Nauru Consulate General in Melbourne, Australia for specific information regarding customs requirements.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that, if questioned by local officials proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available. If detained, U.S. citizens are encouraged to request that a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy in Suva, Fiji be notified.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than those in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Nauru law, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Inter-net site at http://travel.state.gov/family/index.html.

Registration/Embassy Location: There is no U.S. Embassy or diplomatic post in Nauru. The U.S. Embassy in Fiji provides assistance for U.S. citizens in Nauru. Americans living or traveling in Nauru are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy in Suva through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Nauru. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The U.S. Embassy is located at 31 Loftus Street in Fiji's capital city of Suva. The telephone number is (679) 331-4466; the fax number is (679) 330-2267. Information may also be obtained by visiting the Embassy's home page at http://www.amembassy-fiji.gov. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

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Nauru

Nauru

Located 4,023 kilometers (2,500 miles) southwest of Hawaii, the island of Nauru has an area of 21 square kilometers (8.11 square miles)—about six times the size of New York's Central Park. In 2004 the population was estimated to be 12,809. At one time it was perhaps the world's richest nation on a per capita basis. In the mid-1970s, Nauru's per capita income was about $50,000 per person; however, in 2001, it was estimated at about one-tenth that amount, or $5,000—about the same as that of Macedonia, Peru, Lebanon, and China.

Nauru's great wealth came from mining the huge phosphate deposits that covered the center of the island, and the decline in its wealth came from the depletion of these deposits, the apparent failure of the investment strategy Nauru developed to compensate for the inevitable exhaustion of the phosphate deposits, and the inability of the country to develop effective alternative economic ventures. Ninety years of phosphate mining also have made a wasteland of Nauru's central plateau. Growing economic difficulties led to efforts to develop an unregulated offshore banking industry, which has been plagued by apparent money laundering activities by allegedly criminal sources.

Nauru became an independent nation on January 31, 1968 and has been a full member of the Commonwealth of Nations and of the United Nations since 1999. Nauru's constitution, adopted January 29, 1968, establishes a presidential form of government with an eighteen-member unicameral parliament elected by popular vote for 3-year terms. The first president of Nauru was Hammer DeRoburt (1923–1992), the former head chief of Nauru and "father of the Nauruan nation," who served until 1976, was reelected in 1978, and served, with two brief interruptions, until 1989. DeRoburt was defeated in 1976 by Bernard Dowiyogo (1946–2003), who subsequently served as president on six additional occasions before his death. In August 2003 Rene Harris (b. 1948) became president.

The president serves as both chief of state and chief of government and is elected by parliament for a 3-year term. The president appoints a cabinet from the members of parliament. The president and the cabinet can be removed from office by a vote of no-confidence in the parliament. This has happened frequently in Nauru's history as an independent republic: The country has had changes in the presidency on twenty-four occasions since its independence. Often, votes of no-confidence and changes of president have resulted from disputes between an incumbent president and parliament over budgetary matters and policies to deal with Nauru's "phosphateless" future.

Nauru's judicial system consists of a Supreme Court (in 2001, a single sitting justice), a district court, and a family court. The constitution allows appeals from the Supreme Court of Nauru to the High Court (the top court) of Australia. The judiciary has a reputation for independence.

Freedom House includes Nauru among the world's "free" nations, giving the country a top rating for the exercise of democratic political rights. Its rating for observance of citizen civil rights and liberties is somewhat lower due to attempts to interfere with press efforts to investigate purported money laundering schemes by government officials.

See also: Australia.

bibliography

Banks, Arthur S., and William Overstreet. "Nauru." In Political Handbook of the World 1979. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979.

Freedom House. "Nauru." Freedom in the World 2003. New York: Freedom House, 2003. <http://www.freedomhouse.org/research/freeworld/2003/countryratings/nauru.htm>.

Mellor, William. "Nauru Goes from Riches to Rags." International Herald-Tribune Online, June 3, 2004. <http://www.iht.com/articles/522945.html>.

"Nauru." CIA World Factbook. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 2004. <http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/nr.html#Geo>.

Schimmel, B. "Nauru." Rulers. <http://www.rulers.org/ruln1.html>.

C. Neal Tate

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