10 Jan 2003

PNG asylum seeker camp almost empty

11:21 am on 10 January 2003

From next week, just over a dozen people will remain at the controversial Australian run detention centre for asylum seekers on Papua New Guinea's remote Manus Island.

The Australian Department of Immigration says its most recent figures show that there are 100 people being held on Manus with 94 of them granted refugee status.

New Zealand this week announced it will take 85 of the refugees, and another 65 from Nauru.

Around five hundred asyslum seekers will continue to be detained on Nauru, which today (thurs) swore in a new Government after President Rene Harris lost a vote of no confidence.

The Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says the ousting of Mr Harris has nothing to do with his support for the housing of asylum seekers in exchange for aid.

And Australia says it is not concerned that the change of Government will affect the arrangement.