Nauru too busy to deal with amnesty
FIJI – Amnesty International has revealed that Nauru has denied it access to the island’s Australian-run immigration detention centre, which houses more than 1,000 asylum seekers. It says the Nauru government has refused the group’s visit request because it “is an incredibly busy time on Nauru”, despite Amnesty offering alternative dates. Earlier this month, a team of United Nations human rights observers was denied entry. A new human rights report by a Melbourne University says Australia’s asylum seeker policies and practices are in breach of at least seven international laws. The latest refusal of access comes just days after reports of children being abused at the camp at the hands of guards. Nauru also tightened media access in January by hiking a non-refundable journalist visa application fee by 4000 percent in hat is seen as a move to deter reporting on issues at the detention centre.
New prison service being set up
SAMOA – In Samoa, ten applicants have been shortlisted for the position of commissioner in a new government body called the Prison and Correction Services. The body will be responsible for looking after the Tafaigata Prison and other prisons around the country. “The applicants are experienced Samoans in the area of prisons,” said the Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Tu’u’u Dr Ieti Taulealo. Two overseas applicants are both Samoans, one living in New Zealand and the other in Australia. Meanwhile, the warden for Tafaigata prison, Sala Seaga Uili, is still suspended on full pay along with Samoa’s Police Commissioner Lilomaiava Fou Taioalo. Their suspensions preceded an inquiry into allegations regarding the mismanagement of Tafaigata Prison and other related issues.
Fiji soldier shot during US car chase
USA – A former Fijian soldier living in the US was shot and injured after he allegedly fired on police officers following a high-speed chase. Sevanaia Lauakilagi Bainimarama, 39, of Smithfield in Idaho, has been charged with attempted murder of police officers. Local media say Bainimarama fired a weapon at two officers during the 19-minute pursuit and then asked for a beer as he underwent treatment for gunshot wounds in an ambulance. The police pursuit ended when Bainimarama drove onto a dead-end street, turned around and tried to run over the officers, police said. Bainimarama was charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment, fleeing police and running stop signs. Bainimarama suffered gunshot wounds to both arms and his right hand.
NZ labour supports nuclear lawsuit
NEW ZEALAND – New Zealand’s Labour Party says there is no reason the New Zealand government should not support the Marshall Islands lawsuit against the nine countries with nuclear weapons. The Marshall Islands government is suing the United States and the eight other nuclear-armed countries for failing their obligations to disarm. The Labour Party’s disarmament spokesperson, Maryan Street, says she will be asking the foreign minister to support the suits. “Here is a fundamental and critical issue that our government can take some leadership on. Anybody who stands up for a case in front of the International Court of Justice should not find diplomatic barriers in their way, because it is justice.”
... But Israel says it has ‘no legal legs’
MARSHALL ISLANDS– Israel has played down a lawsuit filed by the Marshall Islands against the nine nuclear powers. The legal action is being taken in the International Court of Justice and in the case of the US in an American court because Washington doesn’t recognise the ICJ. The Marshall Islands says the nine atomic powers are failing their obligations to disarm as stipulated in the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It also says Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea, which have not signed the treaty, are bound by its nuclear disarmament provisions under customary law. But an Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson is quoted as saying the case against countries outside the Non-Proliferation Treaty doesn’t have any legal legs.