Military training for university students a violation of their freedom of conscience - CHR



The Centre for Human rights (CHR) yesterday condemned the government’s move to give leadership training, at army camps, to university entrants.


"The decision taken to give this leadership training inside military camps is done against the will/consent of the majority of the students. This is a violation of Article 10 of the 1978 Constitution ‘freedom of thought, conscience and religion," the CHR said in a release issued to the media yesterday.


The release reads: "University student is essentially a person who is expected to question authority and to look at things rationally and critically. Therefore, the Centre for Human rights (CHR) believes that the decision taken by the government to give ‘leadership training’ to university entrants in military installations and by predominantly military personnel is a violation of accepted norms.


CHR Director Rajitha Keerthi Tennakoon states that the Sri Lankan higher education system was influenced by Buddhism which encourages critical thinking. The university Act No 16 of 1978 accepts the importance of academic freedom and the necessity to give lecturers and students the necessary space to think freely. However this freedom has been gradually taken away by the authorities in the last decade.


The decision taken to give this leadership training inside military camps is done against the will/consent of the majority of the students. This is a violation of Article 10 of the 1978 constitution ‘freedom of thought, conscience and religion.’ Also how this action is looked upon by students belonging to minorities, especially Tamils, should deeply ponder upon.  


CHR in its previous reports and press releases spoke extensively about the gradual suppression of academic freedom in universities. Not only students but also lecturers are victims of this and in the last few years many independent academics have left universities. The intolerance of authorities can also be shown in the way they are handling the university lecturers’ salary issue. 


During his or her tenure at the university a student is trained to think rationally and critically. They are not expected to follow orders blindly. If that is what the government expects/wants, CHR condemns that decision as a continuation of government suppression of universities."


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
animated gif
Processing Request
Please Wait...