21 Jun 2010

Vanuatu seeks UN help over Papua determination

1:48 pm on 21 June 2010

Vanuatu's parliament has unanimously passed a motion to raise issues around the status of Indonesian-administered territories of New Guinea at the United Nations.

The motion seeks support from the UN General Assembly in clarifying the legality of the process in which the former Netherlands New Guinea was ceded to Indonesia in the 1960s.

This process culminated in 1969's Act of Free Choice under which a group of West Papuan representatives voted for integration into Indonesia rather than independence.

However, the referendum is widely regarded as having been stage-managed by Indonesia.

Vanuatu is to request General Assembly support for the International Court of Justice to provide an advisory opinion on the legality of the 1962 agreement between Indonesia and the Netherlands.

The New York agreement stipulated that the region transfer to a temporary UN authority although Indonesian security forces effectively invaded and took control.

Vanuatu also seeks clarity on the conduct and effect of the Act of Free Choice and on the current status of the territory.