Nauru ends ties with Australia’s highest court, causing concern for refugees

Nauru ends ties with Australia’s highest court, causing concern for refugees

[JURIST] Nauru announced Monday it is cutting ties with the High Court of Australia [official website] and establishing its own Court of Appeals.

On its Twitter page, the Republic of Nauru said [Twitter]:

As a sovereign nation with a democratically (re)elected government, we will make decisions based on what is best for our people, not what ill-informed, racist, elitist, colonial-minded Australian lawyers, journalists & activists try & demand. … We will not accept attempted interference in our domestic affairs.

This is not the first time Nauru made such a statement. Last month the Nauru government released a press release [press release] also stating their intent to break with the Australian court. The Nauru government has heralded the separation as “another step to nation’s maturity” which will give Nauruan citizens “easier access to justice.”

However, rights groups are concerned about the effect the separation will have on those seeking asylum in Australia, hundreds of which are detained in Nauru. The asylum seekers might lose the right [BBC report] they previously had to appeal to Australia’s High Court.

In November 2016 the US and Australia agreed [JURIST report] on the resettlement of refugees detained on Nauru and Manus Island. The previous August Australia announced [JURIST report] plans to close detention center on Manus Island. That same month Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch accused [JURIST report] Australia of ignoring inhuman treatment of refugees.