Pacific News Minute: Nauru Refuses Visas to Australian, Danish Politicians and Australian Media
Yesterday, an independent Australian Member of Parliament named Andrew Wilkie said his application to visit the island nation of Nauru has been refused. That makes him just the latest prospective visitor to be denied. Nauru rejected applications from an Australian Senator and from a delegation of Danish MPs in the past few weeks...we have more from Neal Conan in the Pacific News Minute.
All the politicians wanted to tour the controversial Australian detention camps on Nauru...both Andrew Wilkie and Senator Sarah Hanson-Young are well known critics of the off-shore camps. After her visa request was denied, Senator Hanson-Young said the culture of secrecy on Nauru is out of control.
The delegation from Denmark planned its visit some time ago, as some in Europe want to adopt Australia's policy of placing uninvited asylum seekers into what amounts to a prison camp. Suddenly, at the end of last month, Nauru said three members of the delegation were unacceptable. Johanne Schmidt Nielson of the Red-Green Alliance and Jacob Mark of the Socialist People's Party have criticized the camps, but Nasr Khader of the conservative People's Party had not spoken publicly on the issue. Ms. Schmidt Nielsen speculated that his Arab name might have played a part. While other members of the group were apparently still welcome, the entire delegation decided not to go. "It is absolutely unacceptable and anti- democratic" Ms. Schmidt Nielsen said, "and says everything about the situation in Nauru that critics are denied access."
Australia's Fairfax Media says, it too, was denied a visa to Nauru last month, with no reason given...Nauru charges journalists a non-refundable $6,000 application fee, but rarely allows any in.