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By Staff Reporter : PNG Today

Students continue boycott

The student boycott at the University of Papua New Guinea is still on despite the order obtained by the University Council. This morning few students turned up at the forum square covered in mud to show their  sorrow and mourn for students who are recovering in hospitals after they were ambushed by Police last Wednesday. 

Student leader Kennet Rapa  welcomed a Government decision to have a commission of inquiry investigate the ongoing students’ protest, but says their boycotting of classes will continue.

Mr. Rapa, in a statement released on social media last Saturday said they welcomed the inquiry but it must be conducted by an independent and impartial body, and to have broader terms.
“It must not be a Government organisation, or an organisation that is affiliated with any institution of the Government,” Rapa said. 
He suggested that the inquiry be headed by either the Catholic Bishop Conference of PNG and Solomon Islands, the Commonwealth, or the United Nations. 
He said the terms must be broad to include investigation into:
Why the referendum was not conducted;
all the decisions by the UPNG Senate and Council relating to the issue since day one;
who ordered the police shooting; and,
Whether the Government had breached human rights under the PNG  Constitution and the United Nations Charter on Human Rights.
He said the university students had brought the fight this far.
“We have sacrificed our education and boycotted classes to address this national issue. After what transpired on Wednesday June 8, 2016, the students are exhausted,” he said.
Rapa said the call by the UPNG administration for students to return to classes today was “unrealistic and non-pragmatic”. 
He said students were traumatised and were still recovering from last Wednesday’s event.
Chief Secretary Issac Lupari last Thursday said the Government would investigate how students at UPNG had been paying for travel costs and other expenses during their uprising in Port Moresby. 
This is apart from the inquiry announced by Prime Minister Peter O’Neill in Parliament last week to determine “the underlying reasons for continued student unrest promoted by individuals outside the student body”.
Lupari said the investigation would find out where the students were receiving funding from to move around in vehicles and buy airline tickets to travel to centres outside Port Moresby.
Trouble flared last Wednesday when students who were attempting to stage a march to Parliament clashed with armed police. Shots were fired resulting in injuries to at least 16 people. Some properties in campus and in Port Moresby were damaged. The violence sparked off riots in Lae and Mt Hagen.

University of Technology students clash 

Yesterday, clashes at the Lae university left one person in hospital amid reports of students being armed, in one case with a gun.
Dr Schram  told RNZI that  the injured student has cuts to his neck and leg.
The brawl came after seven weeks of class boycotts in support of the call made by Port Moresby students for Prime Minister Peter O'Neill to stand down.
Last week, the Port Moresby protests took a violent turn when police opened fire on students, injuring as many as 23.
Dr Schram said the fighting, involving students from two tribal groups, was not helping anybody.
"So today at noon we have an official negotiation with the student leaders where they can talk freely about their concerns and hopefully that will lead to an agreement and then in the afternoon, in front of the mess, we hope to have the two groups reconcile publicly," said Dr Schram.
Unitech students are expected to return to classes today.


Posted by Staff Reporter : PNG Today on 7:59 PM. Filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Share this Article


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