LGBT rights in Nauru

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
LGBT rights in Nauru
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Male illegal; female legal
Up to 14 years imprisonment (not enforced)
Gender identity/expression -
Military service Has no military
Discrimination protections No
Family rights
Recognition of
Adoption No[1]

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people living in the island nation of Nauru face legal and social challenges not experienced by non-LGBT persons. Male-male homosexual acts remain illegal and there is no legal recognition of same-sex marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships. Under law, male homosexuality may be punished with up to 14 years imprisonment and hard labour.[2] According to the United States Department of State, there were no reports in 2012 of prosecutions directed at LGBT persons.[3]

Nauru announced in 2011 its intention to decriminalize homosexual activity between mutually consenting adults.[4][5]


Homosexuality has been illegal in Nauru since 1899[6] when the island was a German protectorate. The current sodomy laws were introduced in 1921 when the island was under Australian rule and are based on the Criminal Code of Queensland.[7] Those laws were retained following Nauruan independence in 1968.

In January 2011, Mathew Batsiua, Minister for Health, Justice and Sports, stated that the decriminalisation of "homosexual activity between consenting adults" was "under active consideration".[8][9] In October 2011, the government pledged to decriminalize same-sex sexual acts; however, no relevant legislation was enacted by the end of 2014.[10][11]


According to various sections of the Criminal Code, same-sex sexual acts may be punished with imprisonment of up to 14 years:

Section 208. Unnatural Offences. Any person who:

(1) Has carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature; or

* * * *

(3) Permits a male person to have carnal knowledge of him or her against the order of nature;

is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment with hard labour for fourteen years.[12]

Section 209. Attempt to Commit Unnatural Offences. Any person who attempts to commit any of the crimes defined in the last preceding section is guilty of a crime, and is liable to imprisonment with hard labour for seven years.[12]

Section 211. Indecent Practices between Males. Any male person who, whether in public or private, commits any act of gross indecency with another male person, or procures another male person to commit any act of gross indecency with him, or attempts to procure the commission of any such act by any male person with himself or with another male person, whether in public or private, is guilty of a misdemeanour, and is liable to imprisonment with hard labour for three years.[12]

No law specifically mentions same-sex sexual acts between women.[13]

International reaction[edit]

Australia has commended Nauru for its commitment in its National Report to decriminalise homosexuality.[14]

Sweden has recommended the Government of Nauru recognize the principle of non-discrimination which prohibits discrimination on any ground, including sexual orientation, and to abolish the law that criminalizes homosexuality.[15]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal No For male (Penalty: Up to 14 years imprisonment; not enforced) / Yes For female
Equal age of consent No For male / Yes For female
Anti-discrimination laws in employment only No
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (Incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) No
Same-sex marriages No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Step-child adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
Gays and lesbians allowed to serve openly in the military Has no military
Right to change legal gender No
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No
MSMs allowed to donate blood No

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nauru Government Stats". Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  2. ^ Nauru (Law) - Ilga
  3. ^ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "Refworld - 2012 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - Nauru". Refworld. Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "São Tomé and Príncipe to legalise gay sex". PinkPaper. 2011-02-14. Archived from the original on 2011-07-15. Retrieved 2011-02-25. 
  6. ^ "Gay Nauru News & Reports",, 1 January 2009
  7. ^ NAURU (Law)
  8. ^ [rtsp:// Address by Mathew Batsiua] to the United Nations Human Rights Council, January 24, 2010
  9. ^ National Report of Nauru to the Human Rights Council, November 2010
  10. ^ "Nauru". Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  11. ^ "Nauru". Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  12. ^ a b c Criminal Code of Nauru
  13. ^ "Gay Nauru News & Reports". Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "statement160 - Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General". Retrieved 27 July 2015. 
  15. ^ "24 January UPR: Nauru". Retrieved 27 July 2015. 

External links[edit]