Rapa was referring to the CoI that the Government plans to carry out to find out the reason behind the students’ prolonged unrest as well as their financiers.
“On behalf of the UPNG students, I embrace the decision of the Government to form a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the issue,” he said in a statement. However, they will only accept the decision on the following terms:
- The Commission of Inquiry must be conducted by an independent and impartial body.
“It must not be a government organisation, or an organisation that is affiliated with any institution of the Government. It can be headed by any of the following organisation; The Catholic Bishop Conference of PNG and Solomon Islands, the Commonwealth or the United Nations,” said the president.
- The terms of the inquiry must be broadened to include:
i. An inquiry into why the referendum was not conducted;
ii. An inquiry into all the UPNG Senate’s and Council’s decision relating this issue since day one;
iii. An inquiry into who ordered the indiscriminate police shooting; and
iv. An inquiry to establish whether the O’Neill-led Government had breached human rights found in the National Constitution and the United Nations Charter on Human Rights.
Rapa also welcomed the initiative proposed by Fr. Victor Roche of the Catholic Bishops Conference to mediate the tension between the Government and the student body.
“I salute the bravery and courage of each and every individual UPNG student, and students from other sister universities and secondary schools throughout the country, whom have given up their education and have stood up for what we all believe in.
“Fighting for what is right and just is enforced by individual moral conscience. It is of a moral duty you and I as citizens owe to this God-given land of ours to protect and safeguard its tomorrow,” he stated.
(UPNG SRC president Kenneth Rapa addressing the students during a forum early last month. It was during this time that they refused to hand over their petition to Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Minister Malakai Tabar.)