Rape and Domestic Violence: Rape of women or men is a crime and carries a maximum penalty of 25 years’ imprisonment. The law specifically applies penalties for rape of married and de facto partners. Police are required to investigate all reported rape cases. They generally did so, and the courts prosecuted cases. Observers said many instances of rape and sexual abuse went unreported. The law does not address domestic violence specifically, but authorities prosecuted domestic violence cases under laws against common assault. The maximum penalty for simple assault is one year’s imprisonment. The maximum penalty for assault involving bodily harm is three years’ imprisonment.
Both police and judiciary treated major incidents and unresolved family disputes seriously.
Police officials stated they received frequent complaints of domestic violence, announcing that from March through September 2021, the Domestic Violence Unit “recorded 158 cases of domestic dispute,” the most recent information available. Families normally sought to reconcile such problems informally and, if necessary, communally.
Sexual Harassment: There is no specific law against sexual harassment, but authorities could and did prosecute harassment involving physical assault under assault laws.
Reproductive Rights: There were no reports of coerced abortion or involuntary sterilization on the part of government authorities.
A 2019 report by the Population Reference Bureau indicated that among women ages 15-49, the prevalence of any contraceptive use was 35.6 percent, and 25.1 percent of that age cohort used modern methods. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) reported there was a high unmet need for family-planning commodities. Causes of this unmet need included limited access to adequate sexual health and reproductive services, especially for individuals in the outer islands; perceptions of family planning services as inconvenient, unsatisfactory, or culturally insensitive; cultural or religious opposition; lack of skills among those dispensing contraceptives and family planning services; and misconceptions regarding side effects.
Emergency contraception as part of the family planning and contraception method mix was available to individuals. The government provided some access to sexual and reproductive health services, including emergency contraception, for survivors of sexual violence. Such access, however, was limited by social stigma, cultural practices, and popularly accepted misconceptions. According to UNFPA, access to adolescent reproductive health services and information was limited, and the World Health Organization reported the 2012-2020 adolescent birth rate for girls ages 15 to 19 was 94 per 1,000. Other causes of this problem were inadequate access to contraceptives and cultural factors.
Discrimination: The law provides the same legal status and rights for women and men, including under family, religious, labor, property, nationality, and inheritance laws. The government did not enforce the law effectively. Discrimination in employment and wages occurred with respect to women (see section 7.d.).
Systemic Racial or Ethnic Violence and Discrimination
The constitution states, “every person in Nauru…has the right, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinions, color, creed or sex,” to life, liberty, security of the person, property, and the protection of the law; to freedom of conscience, of expression, and of peaceful assembly and association; and to respect for their private and family life.
It was unclear whether the government enforced these provisions effectively.
Birth Registration: Children derive citizenship if one of their parents is a citizen. The constitution also provides for acquisition of citizenship by birth in the country in cases in which the person would otherwise be stateless. The law requires registration of births within 21 days to receive citizenship, and families generally complied with the law.
Child Abuse: The law prohibits child abuse. The government does not maintain data on child abuse, but it remained a problem, according to civil society groups. The law establishes comprehensive measures, including mandatory reporting, to protect children from abuse.
Child, Early, and Forced Marriage: The law prohibits marriage by persons younger than 18.
Sexual Exploitation of Children: The law prohibits the sale of children, offering or using a child for commercial sexual exploitation, and practices related to child pornography. The minimum age for consensual sex is 16. There are standardized penalties for sexual exploitation of children; intentional sexual intercourse with a child younger than age 16 is punishable by 25 years’ imprisonment. Sexual intercourse with a child younger than 13 carries a penalty of life imprisonment.
The law establishes penalties for taking images of children’s private acts and genitalia. If the child is younger than age 16, the maximum penalty is 10 years’ imprisonment, and if younger than 13, it is 15 years’ imprisonment. The same law prescribes tougher penalties for involving children to produce pornographic material. The maximum penalty if the child is younger than 16 is 15 years’ imprisonment and 20 years’ imprisonment if the child is younger than 13. The cybercrime law outlaws the electronic publication and transmission of child pornography.
Authorities enforced laws against commercial sexual exploitation of children and child pornography.
The country does not have a Jewish community, and there were no known reports of antisemitic acts.
Trafficking in Persons
There were no confirmed reports during the year that traffickers exploited domestic or foreign victims in Nauru or that traffickers exploited victims from Nauru abroad.
Acts of Violence, Criminalization, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or Expression, or Sex Characteristics
Criminalization:No laws criminalize consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults.
Violence against LGBTQI+ Persons: The law does not specifically cite sexual orientation, but it could be used to aid in the prosecution of bias-motivated crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) persons. There were isolated reports of violence against persons based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Discrimination: The law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics; nor does it recognize LGBTQI+ individuals, couples, and their families. Observers noted instances of social discrimination and some police intimidation.
Availability of Legal Gender Recognition:Legal gender recognition, by which the government allows individuals to change their gender identity marker on legal and identifying documents to bring them into alignment with their gender identity, was not available.
Involuntary or Coercive Medical or Psychological Practices Specifically Targeting LGBTQI+ Individuals: There were no reports of involuntary or coercive medical practices or so-called conversion therapy targeting LGBTQI+ individuals.
Restrictions of Freedom of Expression, Association, or Peaceful Assembly: There were no reports of restrictions on those speaking out on LGBTQI+ matters.
Persons with Disabilities
Persons with disabilities can access education, health services, some public buildings, and transportation on an equal basis with others. No legislation mandates services for persons with disabilities or access to public buildings. Although the government has installed mobility ramps in some public buildings, many private buildings were not accessible. The Department of Education has a special education adviser who is responsible for education for students with disabilities and established an Able and Disable Center that provided training for teachers and classes for students with learning difficulties and disabilities.
There were no reports of discrimination against persons with disabilities in employment, but social stigma likely led to decreased opportunities for employment.