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UPNG Student leaders are innocent: Juffa

ORO Governor Gary Juffa has condemned the actions of the UPNG Council to terminate student leaders for participating in the student unrest that forced the closure of the university.

Juffa said the actions taken by the University Council was not in the best interest of democracy and free speech.

“Dissent and protests were important facets of democracy and such actions were actually discouraging free speech and the approach taken to terminate student leaders was harsh and totalitarian,” he said.

Juffa said it was an indirect message discouraging the democratic rights of students to express their opinions and raise concern.

“The efforts of students unions and NGOs were to be a check and balance for Government policies when the interests of a nation and their people were ignored by those who wielded power,” he said.

He added that if the University council was in a move to restore pride and confidence at the premier institution and open up classes again; they should forgo all the past mistakes and let everyone back on campus forgetting that there was ever a student unrest.

“To remove the student leaders was same as removing the student body because student leaders were only the mouth piece of the student body,” he said.

Juffa has called on Dr Nicholas Mann and his team to be mindful of the fact that a round table discussion between student leaders and the council was the way forward to restore confidence at the university.

“If there was a strike, it was a call made by the student body voiced through their leaders and as far as the law was concerned, they only expressed the sentiments against the government, nothing more,” he said.

“Any criminal actions taken during the strike should be left to the law to take its course rather than blaming it squarely on the student leaders,” Juffa added.

read more on >> PNG Education News

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