Reconfiguring human security relations between the state and society: The Papua New Guinea experience

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    The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has profoundly reconfigured human security relations between state and society in Papua New Guinea (PNG). In implementing its COVID-19 response, PNG opted for an authoritarian structure with an emphasis on law enforcement where transparency, accountability, and democracy were legally qualified to protect human health in the interest of national security. In taking this approach, the perceived human security threat posed by COVID19 led to a significant change in relations between state and society. The state has requested that citizens momentarily forgo democratic rights, liberties, and freedoms in the interest of national security, but sustaining society’s long-term participation, cooperation and compliance has been a challenge on a number of fronts. PNG society in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic is considered strong in the sense that most citizens do not comply or readily cooperate with the COVID-19 measures and regulations issued by the state. This non-cooperative behavior exposes the weaknesses in the capability of state agencies to enforce COVID-19 measures and regulations. Inadequate funding of COVID-19 initiatives as well as an under-resourced public health infrastructure considered inadequate in handling the pandemic also played on relations between the state and society.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)75-78
    JournalDevelopment Bulletin (Canberra)
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


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