Australia flies first asylum seekers to Nauru camp
Thirty asylum seekers have been flown from Christmas Island to Nauru, as Australia begins to implement its new offshore processing policy.
The Sri Lankan men arrived in the tiny Pacific nation early on Friday.
They will remain there until their claims for asylum have been processed and will be joined by more people as the camp is expanded.
Australia re-introduced offshore processing last month, after ending the practice in 2008.
Critics say the policy of sending asylum seekers to other countries while their claims are processed violates their rights.
In the past detainees on Nauru conducted multiple hunger strikes in protest at both the length of their detention and the conditions they lived in.
But the government says offshore processing is needed to deter people from making the dangerous journey to Australia by boat.
Many vessels target Christmas Island - the closest part of Australian territory to Indonesia.
These boats are often poorly maintained and overcrowded, and several have capsized in recent months.
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said more transfers from Christmas Island - where Australia has a large detention centre - would follow.
“I think you can expect to see a broad cross-section of people transferred to Nauru next week and in coming weeks,” he said.
The new arrivals will be housed initially in temporary five-man tents which work is done on building more permanent structures.
Pictured: The tiny territory of Nauru lies in the Pacific ocean