Australian authorities rule that some asylum seekers held on Papua New Guinea are refugees

An Australian minister says authorities have ruled that some of the hundreds of asylum seekers held for months in a detention camp on Papua New Guinea are genuine refugees.

The asylum applications are the first to be determined since a previous Australian government announced in July last year that all refugees who attempt to reach Australia by boat will be resettled on Papua New Guinea, Australia's impoverished South Pacific island neighbor.

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said Friday that some refugee applications had been upheld this week, but he didn't say how many.

Refugee advocates warn that the successful refugee claims will do nothing to ease tensions among the 1,200 men in the Australia-funded camp in Papua New Guinea where protests have turned violent.