Vanuatu’s parliament has unanimously passed a motion calling for the International Court of Justice to investigate the the legality of West Papua becoming part of Indonesia. The motion was jointly sponsored by prime minister Edward Natapei and opposition leader Maxime Carlot Korman. It will see the country ask the UN General Assembly to direct the international court to look into the manner in which the mainly Melanesian and Christian western half of New Guinea island was incorporated into the Asian and Islamic country of Indonesia in the 1960s.
One of the main reasons for Indonesia’s interest in West Papua was the Grasberg copper-gold deposit, mined since the Indonesian invasion by US company Freeport McMoRan, which was able to expand the mine with financing from London-listed Rio Tinto, which continues to profit from the operation.