Saturday, August 19, 2017

Union to appeal expulsion of student over Facebook postings

The Chin Student Union of Myanmar will appeal the expulsion of a college student over postings in his Facebook account criticizing the military and the government.

Salai Nein Tun, a second year student specializing in Physics, was expelled on July 28 from the Nationalities Youth Resources Development Degree College in Sagaing over critical comments against the government and the military on social media.

“The reason is not valid for expelling him from the college. So we will send our statement and also a request letter to the minister for Chin Ethnic Affairs and the head of the college within one week,” Salai Thang Loon, General Secretary for Chin Student Union, Myanmar told The Myanmar Times on Tuesday.

“We also try to meet the Head of the college to negotiate for the reinstatement of the student,” he added.

The Chin Student Union of Myanmar, student unions from seven states, the All Burma Federation of Student Unions and organizations that are based in Pakokku town released a joint statement on July 30 saying the expulsion infringes on the original citizen rights and is undemocratic.

“When we write the request letter we will negotiate with the expelled student and ask him what action he wants on his case. During the negotiations, we will cite students’ rights and freedom of expression. But it is up to the school whether or not they want to negotiate,” Salai Thang Loon said.

The college did not announce that Salai Nein Tun was expelled, college officials just said they would send him back to his parents.

“The officials didn’t say they are expelling me. They just said we are sending you back to your parents,” Salai Nein Tun said. “Before I came back I met with the head of college and she said to me, the postings on my Facebook account are frustrating ethnic unity. And she said they don’t want to see anything like that again,” he said.

“If I don’t have freedom to express myself in my Facebook account, I would never try to attend the college. If the system changes I will (go back to college). But if I don’t have freedom of expression I will never try again to enter college,” he added.