CaFFE And CHR Condemn The Attack On University Students

Campaign for Free and Fair Election (CaFFE) and Center for Human Rights and Research (CHR) strongly condemn the attack on university students near the Parliamentary Complex yesterday.

“The right to protest is a universally accepted right and CaFFE and CHR do not believe that the voice of dissenting students could be suppressed with tear gas and water cannons. With elections drawing near the government is attempting to silence opposition activists are increasingly being attacked”, the organizations said.  

The attack on students occurred a few hours after several United National Party (UNP) MPs were assaulted inside the port complex, Colombo.

The two organizations said that they are also concerned about the recent development in universities and the increasing gap between students and UGC/Ministry of Higher Education. ‘The aggressive attitude of the Minister of Higher Education is also extremely unsuitable for resolving issues’ they said.  
“Assaulting students while not addressing their grievances will not resolve the current crisis in universities and the behaviour of the government adds to the suspicion of students. For example it is evident that the attack on Sabaragamuwa students at Pambahinna was clearly sponsored by the government.  In addition university administrators have become highly politicized, and we saw two university vice chancellors attending talk shows with the posse of the Minister of Higher Education. While the two men were not subjected to any form of disciplinary action other university academics, who express dissenting views, are punished”, CaFFE asserted.  

CaFFE and CHR has urged the administrators to have meaningful discussions with students and to stop the suppression of dissenters as elections as the nation prepares for a presidential election.

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