NAURU: Access to justice for children

This report is part of CRIN's access to justice for children project, looking at the status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in national law, the status of children involved in legal proceedings, the legal means to challenge violations of children’s rights and the practical considerations involved in challenging violations.

Nauru has ratified the CRC but, to date, has not ratified any of its Optional Protocols. The CRC does not form part of Nauru’s national law, though it is used as interpretative guidance by the courts. Civil proceedings, actions to enforce fundamental rights under the Constitution, and judicial review proceedings may be brought in Nauru to challenge violations of children’s rights. Children generally must be represented by a next friend or guardian ad litem, though there are some circumstances in which they can bring proceedings by themselves. Courts appear to have wide powers to provide remedies in cases of rights violations. Obstacles to access to justice in Nauru include the lack of a legal aid system and trained lawyers in the country, the absence of children’s courts and lack of child-friendly procedures in court proceedings, executive interference with the judiciary, and the absence of mechanisms to investigate allegations against officials, such as a national human rights institution or ombudsperson.

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