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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

Kimisopa urges students to exercise rights with responsibility

The public is well aware of the recent and continuing disruption of the academic year by a faction of university students.

As I previously indicated students have a right to protest against the Government and I support their rights as enshrined under the Constitution. But with rights comes responsibility. Protesters must abide by the law. They cannot attack other students who also have a democratic right to take an opposing view or who simply want to finish their studies. The actions of the SRC executive in continuing protests within UPNG and blocking students from attending classes is simply unacceptable and illegal.

Yesterday students from Goroka visited my office and advised me that they wanted to continue their studiers but had been told by SRC members that either they stick with the protestors or they had to get out of their accommodation at UPNG. They were being bullied by an unrepresentative SRC executive more interested in a political agenda than the welfare of students. These people are a disgrace to the SRC institution and should be removed from office.
As Member for Goroka and Chairman of the Goroka District Development Authority, I point out that we have financially supported students to attend university and parents have scrimped and saved to pay tuition fees. We cannot now allow thugs to impose their will on the majority and for the lives of committed students to be ruined as a consequence.

I therefore call on the Government and the University Council to take whatever steps are deemed appropriate to secure the Waigani Campus, provide a safe learning environment for our students and to expel any student who attempts to coerce other students to continue protests.
The public, parents and MPs have had enough of mindless violence, wanton destruction of Government property and intimidation of committed students. Thugs have no place in institutions of learning and need to be removed and face the full force of the law. In dealing with this situation, I would also like to encourage the Courts to enforce the letter of the law and show no leniencefor those who transgress.

We want a peaceful democratic country that removes Governments at the ballot box not via fermenting violence, exploiting regional differences and use of extortion.


Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 2:10 PM. Filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article

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