government: parliamentary republic
state of civil and political rights: Free
constitution: 29 January 1968
legal system: acts of the Nauru Parliament and British common law
legislative system: unicameral Parliament
judicial system: Supreme Court
religion: Nauru Congregational 35.4%, Roman Catholic 33.2%, Nauru Independent Church 10.4%, other 14.1%
year of last executions: 0-0-1968
death sentences: 0
international treaties on human rights and the death penalty:
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (signed only)
1st Optional Protocol to the Covenant (signed only)
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (signed only)
Statute of the International Criminal Court (which excludes the death penalty)
On 27 May 2016, the country’s parliament passed a number of laws updating its criminal code to bring it more into line with modern international human rights standards. The death penalty was removed as a punishment from Nauru’s statute books, as well as hard labour and solitary confinement. Slavery was criminalised, as well as child labour. Nauru’s reformed laws have removed homosexuality as an offence, and state that suicide “is no longer an offence and is considered more a mental health issue rather than a criminal law issue,” the Nauruan government said. In addition, the reformed legislation broadens the definition of rape to include marital rape, and introduces the offence of stalking. The new laws supersede those based on the 1899 Criminal Code of Queensland. The archaic Queensland criminal code derived its anti-homosexuality laws – “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” – from the British 1860 anti-sodomy laws, which were exported across the Commonwealth during the Victorian era.
On 3 Novembre 2015, Nauru was reviewed under the UPR of the UN Human Rights Council. Concerning the abolition of the death penalty, the delegation of Nauru stated that the provision was part of the Constitution and, owing to the reticence of the Nauruan people to revise the Constitution, the Government had decided to address the matter through the new Criminal Code, removing the death penalty for any type of crime.
No one has been put to death since independence in 1968.
On December 19, 2016 Nauru voted in favour of the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly. On December 18, 2014, Nauru was absent during the vote on the Resolution.