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UPNG students protest against asylum deal


REMONSTRATION AGAINST THE ASYLUM deal between Australia and PNG reached a new height on Friday with students of the University of PNG staging a protest march against the deal.

The students attempted to stage a protest march to the Australian High Commission and the National Parliament but were stopped from proceeding by armed police.

They were concerned about the manner in which the asylum seeker deal was signed, saying it was never debated publicly and that is not in the best interests of PNG.

UPNG students’ representative council president Peter Nunu said the deal undermines PNG’s sovereignty as an independent nation. He said students will do all they can to stop the arrangement even if it means mobilising the whole student body, civil society and unions in PNG.

“At all costs university students, I as the President of the National Union of University Students and University of Papua New Guinea, will protect our people, will protect our nation, will fight to the end.

“Until the prime minister Peter O’Neill inclines to remove the deal, the entire student body, civil society and NGOs will make sure Kevin Rudd removes this deal. And we’ll make it happen,” Mr Nunu said.

Since Australia and PNG signed the asylum deal on 19 July, it has been reported that 18 boats have arrived on Australian shores carrying a total of 1,452 asylum seekers.

Would this be an indication of the futility of Rudd’s hard line approach to deter boat people from entering Australian shores?

In another interesting piece of news, the first group of 40 adult male asylum seekers was snagged by bad weather. Could this also be an omen of a looming cataclysm for the deal?


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Steve Gallagher

The so-called student union president should consider some of the pros and cons of the deal. I firstly was against the deal but recognised later that it has some benefits.

Our diplomats have at least made a relative gain on that deal. Moreover, we should have the heart for these people, imagine if it was you.

As an intellectuals, we should see things from both sides before doing anything.

Mr President, we some of the students in other universities in PNG do not know you and he also have different opinion on the issue, therefore do not force students to protest.

Maski lo pairap natin sapos you nogat sampla kain ol IR knowledge lo het blo you. Tintin pastaim.

Paulus Ripa

Z Dee, the police were only doing their job. The issue is of national importance and it is good UPNG students are taking on the issue.

However the SRC needs to follow the law. They need to inform authorities and obtain permission from the authorities to stage a march.

The first time we were aware on the Taurama campus was on Friday morning when loud hailers were blaring. We have lost 2 weeks already with the confrontation with renegade soldiers and we were trying to fit in exams for some groups so we could not give them time off at such short notice. Some UPNG thugs were trying to force students into joining the protest. It seems odd to me to use undemocratic means to protest against undemocratic issues.

Zenitram Dee

The human beings who made up that armed police force must be some kind of superbeings who will not be affected by this deal or who do not have the heart of their country.

Why do the forces in this country most often stand with the decision that was made up at the highest level which is considered by the civil society as not good?

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