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Call For Student Death Findings To Be Made Public

Call For UPNG Student Death Findings To Be Made Public

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PORT MORESBY: A trade union official has accused the government of "interfering" in student administration matters at the University of Papua New Guinea and has called for an inquiry into student deaths to be made public, the Post-Courier reports.

PNG Trade Union Congress vice-president Andrew Kandakasi said yesterday the Woods Commission of Inquiry report on the UPNG student unrest last year that resulted in four deaths must be made public.

"The students and the people of Papua New Guinea have every right or are entitled to know the outcome of the Woods' Commission report on the student unrest," Kandakasi said.

He urged the government to give its reasons for not publishing the report. He said the people must not be kept in suspense.

The Prime Minister’s media unit said the report was yet to be made public because the Government wanted to table the report in Parliament at the end of this month.

Kandakasi also claimed the university administration - on instructions from the government - had prevented the elections of new student leaders to the Student Representative Council for this year.

He claimed the move was a big mistake as the university administration denied students the opportunity to exercise their democratic rights. The students should know the reasons why the UPNG administration failed to conduct the elections for this year.

"Such restriction and refusal of SRC elections is a clear evidence of Sir Mekere and his PDM led government interfering in the UPNG administration to oppress and suppress the intellectual population of PNG," Kandakasi said.

"It is highly suspicious that the UPNG administration has not explained its reason why the SRC was suspended or abolished after the 2001 students unrest."

Kandakasi also alleged the university administration removed forum facilities, which included the students' representative council office block and conference room.

An official from the Prime Minister’s media unit said he had no comment on the allegation. He said the UPNG was an independent institution.


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