Pacific leaders meet in Nauru to discuss regional challenges this week, with the host nation keen to deflect attention from its Canberra-funded migration detention camp dubbed “Australia’s Guantanamo” by critics.
Official talks at the 18-nation Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) will centre on the threat climate change poses to island states and China’s rising influence in the region.
But the presence of the detention centre looms large as the four-day meeting opens Monday, amid calls from rights groups such as Amnesty International to close a facility it calls “a stain on the region”.
“Pacific island leaders cannot ignore this issue any longer and need to ensure that it is at the very top of the forum’s agenda,” Amnesty said after releasing an open letter co-signed with 80 other non-governmental organisations.
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