POLITICAL LIFE IN NAURU

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POLITICAL LIFE IN NAURU

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

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visit Nauru. Great Britain helps fund rehabilitation for mining-damaged land.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visit Nauru. Great Britain helps fund rehabilitation for mining-damaged land.
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.