PRESS STATEMENT: BY THE STUDENTS OF UPNG ON THE JUDICIAL ACT

Source: Nou Frederick Vada

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We the students of the University of Papua New Guinea condemn the statements made by the Justice Minister Dr. Allan Marat to Radio New Zealand International.

Dr. Marat’s claim that the protest march mounted by UPNG students against the Judicial Conduct Act 2012 on Friday the 23rd of March 2012 was the workings of the students of Enga Province, who are biased towards the Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injia who is himself an Engan.

What Dr. Marat needs to understand is that the protest March to occupy Waigani that took place on Friday was the direct result of a resolution passed by the Student Body at the General Forum Meeting of Thursday 22nd March 2012. In this meeting representatives from all 22 Provinces, after close consultation with their Student provincial groups, aired their official stance to the Student Body.

Students from all 22 Provinces motioned to march the following day – and we did. The Organizing Commtittee consisted of students from various Provinces and not just Enga. In fact students from Dr. Marat’s own Niugini Islands region were some of the most vocal and active members of the March and the Committees behind the March. Now we do not deny that of UPNG’s 5 SRC executives, 3 are Engan. The other two are from the Mamose Region. But in organising this march, young Papua New Guineans from all the different Provinces played important roles in key aspects of the March and the Petition.

The Petition was drawn up by a Committee chaired by a student from Sepik. The Committee that prepared the Opinion on the Bill was chaired by a Papuan. We did not see along regional lines when we stood together for each other and for Papua New Guinea, organising our successful March to Parliament. We find the Justice Minister’s statements most unhelpful and is the kind of thinking that would tear up unity in the Campus right now.

Even the Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea acknowledged the UPNG Petition in his address to the nation on Sunday night as being “in the public interest”. Therefore, this kind of hate speech designed to break student morale here in UPNG must be condemned with the strongest of terms. Prime Minister O’Neill’s Government is one made up of Members of Parliament from all 4 regions of Papua New Guinea and all 22 Provinces, including Enga and East New Britain.

We therefore seek an apology from Dr. Allan Marat for these most reckless statements made on air to Radio New Zealand International as we are of the view that such statements are deliberate attempts to dishearten and break up the common resolve of the student body to have the Judicial Conduct Act 2012 repealed.

We are asking the Prime Minister to speak with his Justice Minister and make sure such dangerous statements are not made ever again. Such statements may cause public unrest and unnecessary violence which we must all condemn no matter what side of the argument we take in this issue of the Judicial Conduct Act.

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4 thoughts on “PRESS STATEMENT: BY THE STUDENTS OF UPNG ON THE JUDICIAL ACT

  1. No national leader should ever be allowed to make sarcastic and discriminatory remarks such as this. We are a unique country with more than 800 languages with diverse culture. Dr Allan Marat’s remarks are bombshell not to disintegrate the students but the more than 6million citizens in PNG that the student body represent. It is not only Engans that attend UPNG or for that matter other tertiary institutions. His words are a threat to the unity, solidarity and the mutual understanding of our great nation and his words are childish, discriminatory, biased and unfair as the position that CJ holds does not belong to the Engan, even though the CJ is an Engan himself. Thus, the MP owes an apology to the people of PNG!

  2. Come on Dr Marat! Don’t be childdish. The petition was from the University of Papua New Guinea…its Papua New Guinea. Yes there papuans, tolais, momase and what have you that were very vocal. What the MP should be very concerned about is why is there so much uproar around the country against the passed-Bill – certainly it is worth a second look with another set of glasses (preferably not his). That is the crux of the matter. Deal with it, and give the right advise to the NEC since he is the chief legal advisor to the Government.

  3. As a tolai, i’am ashamed of Dr.Marat’s childish comments towards upng students, especially my Engan brothers and sisters..Dr Marat owes an apology to them and the people of PNG, because they also represented us the grassroots back at home with their protest march last week..

    1. Dr Marat is a learned lawyer and a person of his credentials should not make such statement that connotates regionalism and impersonalize Engans. This implies his poor reasoning and judgement as the AG to advice the government for passing very controversal bills. As the AG, he terribly failed to seek wider consultation on the effects of such laws and even on the basis of natural conscience did not put foward his professional opinion. You don’t need to be a Harvard Law graduate to understand the intent and spirit of the new laws as they have potential negative repucassions on the economy,people and institutions of the state. Engans a hard working people and Sir Injia was appointed on merit which every Papua New Guineans know without any shadow of doubt.

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