Environment, health & human rights Feed

Through immigrant eyes – Part 4

| Edited

BRISBANE - Australia’s track record covering human rights is rather abysmal and several notable and controversial struggles include the Home Children child migration scheme, Stolen Generations and Wave Hill pastoral workers.

More recently Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and the Pacific Solution involving the Manus Island and Nauru Island regional processing centres have attracted significant worldwide media attention.

Continue reading "Through immigrant eyes – Part 4" »

Through Immigrant Eyes – Some historic context

Cartoon - polyp.org.uk


ADELAIDE - While I have a lot of sympathy with Bernard Corden’s characterisation of neo-liberal capitalism in his Through Immigrant Eyes series, it is wrong to conceive of this philosophy as some sort of malevolent conspiracy.

Neo-liberalism is, as the name suggests, simply a reconceptualisation of the classic liberalism that prevailed during most of the 19th century and into the early 20th century.

Continue reading "Through Immigrant Eyes – Some historic context" »

Through immigrant eyes – Part 3

Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels (Painting by Tom McAulay)
Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels (Painting by Tom McAulay)

| Edited

BRISBANE - Papua New Guinea is Australia’s closest neighbour and during the World War II many of its humble natives were engaged under a military directive to provide assistance for embattled Australian troops along the infamous Kokoda Trail.

This involved supply of ancillary equipment to the frontline offensive and first aid treatment and pastoral care for many sick and wounded Australian soldiers.

Continue reading "Through immigrant eyes – Part 3" »

Through immigrant eyes – Part 2

| Edited

BRISBANE - During the first quarter of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic reached Australian shores and its devastating consequences spread across the continent like a catastrophic bushfire.

After many decades of rampant unfettered free market fundamentalism, it soon became evident that preventive legislation, superficial social protection mechanisms and deteriorating public health and privatised aged care facilities were disproportionately inadequate and often ineffective.

Continue reading "Through immigrant eyes – Part 2" »

Through immigrant eyes – Part 1

| Edited

‘In recognising the humanity of our fellow beings, we pay ourselves the highest tribute’ - Thurgood Marshall

BRISBANE - Much like most superficial western democracies, the Australian economy is underpinned by a ruthless feudal system of indentured servitude, peonage or serfdom.

More recently, it is fashionably and somewhat deviously referred to as a gig economy, which disguises many sinister neoliberal features that secure and protect the interests of the powerful over the powerless.

Continue reading "Through immigrant eyes – Part 1" »

Niugini BioMed: What is this madness?

| Twitter | Edited

PORT MORESBY - No funds should be awarded to these people (Niugini BioMed), no drugs should be procured, and no patients should be enrolled until their protocols have been scrutinised and vetted.

This should be done by the PNG Medical Research Advisory Committee and the PNG Institute of Medical Research.

Continue reading "Niugini BioMed: What is this madness?" »

50km of Madang beaches planned for sand mining

| My Land, My Country

LAE - As a Singaporean company with Chinese interests works to get approval to mine sand along the north coast of Madang, many Papua New Guineans are unaware of the impacts of this multibillion dollar global industry.

Sand mining remains largely under the radar in Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "50km of Madang beaches planned for sand mining" »

The world’s forests under threat

| Transparency International

BERLIN - We take forests for granted. We forget they’re the reason we breathe, until they burn. We don’t know of all the ways they keep us safe, until we’re sick. We ignore how our way of life threatens them, until they're gone.

Forests are not spared by corruption: illegal logging, illicit wildlife trade, land grabbing and drug trafficking are some of the plagues that lead to critical deforestation, hampering efforts against the climate crisis and making agreed-upon carbon neutrality goals moot.

Continue reading "The world’s forests under threat" »

Dramatic development change needed for PNG

Ship waits to load logs at Turubu Bay, East Sepik (The Oakland Institute)

| Act Now!

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea think tank and community advocacy group, Act Now!, has joined with Jubilee Australia and California’s Oakland Institute to publish a new report calling for an urgent change of course from PNG’s political leaders.

The report, From Extraction to Inclusion, analyses PNG’s economic and development performance since independence in 1975.

Continue reading "Dramatic development change needed for PNG" »

Frieda mine plan ‘disregards human rights'

| The Guardian | Judith Nielson Institute

PORT MORESBY - The plan for the largest mine in Papua New Guinea’s history carries a risk of catastrophic loss of life and environmental destruction and “appears to disregard the human rights of those affected”, according to United Nations officials.

In an extraordinary intervention, 10 UN special rapporteurs have written with “serious concerns” to the governments of Papua New Guinea, Australia, China, and Canada, as well as the Chinese state-owned developers of the gold, copper and silver mine proposed for the remote Frieda river in the country’s north.

Continue reading "Frieda mine plan ‘disregards human rights'" »

Australia is exploiting its seasonal workers


“Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear” - George Orwell

BRISBANE - In the United States on 28 January 1948, a Douglas DC3 aircraft chartered by US Immigration Services crashed at Los Gatos canyon in California.

There were no survivors and the casualties included several crew members and 28 migrant farm labourers.

Continue reading "Australia is exploiting its seasonal workers" »

On life expectancy (and lazy brothers)


PORT MORESBY - I recall a house built by a young man in the village. It was outstanding in the community.

He developed a unique design, secured a tract of land near the village square and built it using long-lasting materials.

The house was to be occupied by the designer’s younger brother in which to keep the designer’s belongings while he went to a faraway place to complete his studies.

Continue reading "On life expectancy (and lazy brothers)" »

An odious comparison: PNG & Australian hospitals

The new Royal Adelaide Hospital: K5.5 billion to build and  K2.9 billion a year to operate.


ADELAIDE - My first outstation posting in Papua New Guinea was to Baimuru Patrol Post in the Gulf Province.

In 1970 the station boasted a grass airstrip, a native materials office, a small collection of houses and miscellaneous outbuildings.

There was also a rickety wharf decked with Marsden matting left over from World War II.

Continue reading "An odious comparison: PNG & Australian hospitals" »

Covid threatens PNG’s animal rescue centre

Cuscus and handler at Port Moresby Nature Park
Cuscus and handler at Port Moresby Nature Park

| Guardian Australia | Judith Nielson Institute | Extracts

PORT MORESBY - From the heat and dust of the city’s noisy, crowded streets, the Port Moresby Nature Park is an oasis, for the city’s residents as well as the animals it keeps.

Home to more than 500 creatures and spread over 30 verdant acres, the park has spent years rescuing injured, orphaned or trafficked animals from across the country, and protected and nurtured native species, including the endangered pig-nosed turtle, and the magnificent riflebird.

Continue reading "Covid threatens PNG’s animal rescue centre" »

Green climate fund program launched

PNG's green climate fund is launched


PORT MORESBY - PNG’s Green Climate Fund (GCF) program was launched here last week to coordinate a wide range of international and domestic stakeholders in designing and executing activities to address climate change in the country.

The PNG based stakeholders include government agencies, provincial institutions, civil society, faith-based organizations, NGOs and the private sector.

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Mine waste debate divides Huon people

Huon dumpingSCOTT WAIDE
| My Land, My Country

LAE - Papua New Guinea’s environment minister has tried to ease tensions over the proposal to dump mine waste into Huon Gulf in Morobe Province.

Wera Mori says it has not been decided if tailings from the K17 billion Wafi-Golpu project will be disposed using deep sea tailing. But he also admitted that the construction of a tailings dam is not part of the plan.

Continue reading "Mine waste debate divides Huon people" »

Plant More Trees campaign underway


PORT MORESBY – A campaign to plant more trees in Port Moresby and Papua New Guinea has been initiated by Travel4Green (T4G) PNG, a not-for-profit project in partnership with Catholic Bishops Conference.

The campaign has adopted the ‘Keep It Clean. Go Green’ under Pope Francis’s Laudato Si statement and the PNG Conservation and Environment Protection Authority’s recently launched ‘10-million trees in 10 years’ target.

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Covid-19 & muting the Angel of Death

Kavieng from the air
Kavieng from the air - a beautiful place I'd never seen before until my coronavirus-affected travels


PORT MORESBY – Last Tuesday the Papua New Guinea parliament extended the coronavirus state of emergency for another two weeks to provide time to pass a new piece of legislation – the Public Health Emergency Bill - that will control how people live in that condition known as the ‘new normal’.

Many people felt the extension was unnecessary, especially when all eight people officially tested positive to Covid-19 have recovered and no new cases detected.

Continue reading "Covid-19 & muting the Angel of Death" »

PNG team scores in greenpreneurship

Port Moresby can be a beautiful city

| Global Green Growth Institute

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea’s Travel4Green (T4G) project has been selected amongst 15 candidates to participate in the green entrepreneur program run by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI).

Of the 164 applicants T4G’s entry in the Green City category saw it selected for the Greenpreneurs 2020 program!

Continue reading "PNG team scores in greenpreneurship" »

The challenges of unsafe water

Hand washing PNG (ADB)
Fighting coronavirus is a daunting task when clean water for drinking and washing is a major challenge

| Asian Development Bank

MANILA - A lack of safe water supply in urban settlements around Asia and the Pacific complicates efforts to use improved hygiene to fight COVID-19

Handwashing with soap and proper hygiene are the first lines of defense to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Continue reading "The challenges of unsafe water" »

Loggers accused of dudding Manusians

Logging at the Pohowa project (Ed Davey  Global Witness)
Logging at the Pohowa project (Ed Davey Global Witness)

| Guardian Australia

SYDNEY - A Malaysian company that won a permit to clear tropical rainforest on Manus Island has been accused of failing to deliver on its promises to the local community, while reaping millions of dollars in profits from the logging of valuable hardwood timber.

According to licensing documents, the company, Maxland Ltd, secured a permit to clear land in the south of Manus to plant between three and five million rubber trees as part of the Pohowa Project.

Continue reading "Loggers accused of dudding Manusians" »

Broken health system braces for Covid-19

Margaret Melke has been a nurse in East New Britain for more than 40 years
Margaret Melke has been a nurse in East New Britain for more than 40 years

| Guardian Australia | Judith Nielson Institute

KOKOPO - The first that staff at Nonga General Hospital in Papua New Guinea heard that they had been treating someone with coronavirus, was when they saw the country’s prime minister announce it in televised press conference on Monday.

They had been treating the patient, a volunteer health worker at the hospital, for pneumonia.

Continue reading "Broken health system braces for Covid-19" »

Frieda River mine ‘unfit for purpose’

The Frieda River


WEWAK - A civil society organisation, Project Sepik, has called for the rejection of the proposed Frieda River mine saying that the environmental impact statement is ‘unfit for purpose’.

The copper and gold mine proposed to be located in the remote Sepik region, would be the largest ever mine in Papua New Guinea and one of the largest in the world.

Continue reading "Frieda River mine ‘unfit for purpose’" »

4,000 nurses to strike over coronavirus

People last-minute shopping in Kokopo ahead of the coronavirus lockdown (Kalolaine Fainu  The Guardian)
People last-minute shopping in Kokopo ahead of the coronavirus lockdown (Kalolaine Fainu,  The Guardian)

| Guardian Australia

PORT MORESBY - Four thousand nurses are expected to participate in strikes across Papua New Guinea this week over concerns that the Pacific nation lacks the medical supplies and funding to handle a potential coronavirus outbreak.

The industrial action follows a sit-in by nearly 600 nurses in the capital of Port Moresby on Thursday over concerns about the lack of personal protective equipment for medical staff.

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The wave is coming, says top medico

Dr Mathias Sapuri - More than 6,000 cases of interest but PNG is doing very little coronavirus testing


PORT MORESBY – Dr Mathias Sapuri, chairman of Papua New Guinea’s medical board, says he believes that coronavirus is already present in the country.

“Our two closest neighbours, Indonesia and Australia, are climbing exponentially with Covid-19 cases,” he said, “and so they are serious risk to us especially after the PNG lock down period.

Continue reading "The wave is coming, says top medico" »

Experts warn of PNG health catastrophe

| Canberra Times | Edited

CANBERRA - At his meeting with fellow G20 leaders on Friday, Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison called for international focus on the plight of Pacific island nations and said Australia was "reconfiguring" its development assistance to support the operation of critical health services and manage the economic impact.

According to the ABC, this includes the reallocation of $22 million of existing aid commitments toward a COVID-19 support package for the Papua New Guinea government.

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'The patient Earth is sick....'


TUMBY BAY - While a number of conspiracy theorists, alarmists, doomsayers and social media terrorists have tried to insinuate that there is a link between the coronavirus epidemic and climate change, more level-headed minds have been trying to alert us to the connection between the health of the planet and the health of humanity for some time.

In 1993 the Norwegian physician, Per Fugelli, wrote: "The patient Earth is sick. Global environmental disruptions can have serious consequences for human health. It's time for doctors to give a world diagnosis and advise on treatment."

Continue reading "'The patient Earth is sick....'" »

Cry me a river – The Rabaul Queen disaster

Rabaul Queen survivors await rescue - 246 were picked up; as many as 500 died


Extract from ‘You’ll Never Work Again – The Great Safety Charade’ by Bernard Paul Corden, self published, 2019, 1058 pp. A thorough examination from global sources of how corporate barons – large and small – so often place their employees and the public at unconscionable risk. Download 'The Great Safety Charade'

BRISBANE - On 2nd February 2012 the MV Rabaul Queen ferry capsized and sank with the loss of approximately 150 passengers in treacherous waters off the northern coast of Papua New Guinea.

Despite holding a current but somewhat superficial seaworthiness certificate, the congested, overloaded, listing and dilapidated rust bucket departed from Kimbe in West New Britain the previous day.

Continue reading "Cry me a river – The Rabaul Queen disaster" »

Marape declares state of emergency

James Marape and health minister Jelta Wong


PORT MORESBY – Following the detection of the first coronavirus case in Papua New Guinea late last week, in an emergency meeting yesterday the national executive council decided on the implementation of a series of tough measures to stop or slow the spread of the disease through the country.

“This is not just a health issue but a national security issue,” prime minister James Marape said in a public statement, adding that it will have profound effects on the economy, law and order and education.

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Sepik boosts border virus surveillance

Wutung entry facility at the border between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea (RNZ - Johnny Blades)
Wutung entry point at the border between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea (RNZ - Johnny Blades)

| Radio New Zealand | Edited extract

AUCKLAND –Members of parliament in Papua New Guinea's Sepik region say they'll fund bolstered surveillance of the international border with Indonesia.

West Sepik province hosts the main land access point between PNG and Indonesia where coronavirus cases are surging.

Continue reading "Sepik boosts border virus surveillance" »

Coronavirus: A warning from history

Indian pangolin. Some people believe coronavirus entered the human domain because the pangolin  (found in Africa and Asia) is considered a delicacy in China


ADELAIDE - I spent 32 years working in various capacities within the health, hospital and aged care sector.

It was a continuous learning experience for me and one which, despite the anxiety and distress it sometimes generated, was richly rewarding in providing insights into the nature of humanity.

A fascinating part of my long term learning experience was working in the public and environmental health division of South Australia’s department of health.

Continue reading "Coronavirus: A warning from history" »

Crack down on international flights

Air Niugini
Papua New Guinea joins the global aviation shut down

| NBC News

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea is shutting down international flights amid Coronavirus fears.

Flights in and out of Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Sydney, Honiara and Nadi will cease next Sunday.

Prime minister James Marape said flights will be limited so as to only allow “controlled entry” from Brisbane, Cairns and Singapore.

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Coronavirus a testing time for Marape

With its first possible case of coronavirus just recorded, James Marape and his government know that they face a testing time

| The Interpreter | Lowy Institute

SYDNEY - It’s been a volatile week for the PNG Hunters.

The Papua New Guinea rugby league team was celebrating on Sunday after staging a late comeback to clinch a 32-30 win against the Souths Logan Magpies in the first round of the Queensland Intrust Super Cup last weekend.

Continue reading "Coronavirus a testing time for Marape" »

PNG announces coronavirus measures


PORT MORESBY - The Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) has been put on alert as the health minister, Jelta Wong, formally declared coronavirus as a ‘quarantinable disease’ under the country’s health laws.

On Tuesday, the PNG national security council met to discuss additional control measures in light of the worsening crisis in Australia and surrounding countries.

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Coronavirus forces changes to SDA program

SDA church in Goroka

| Adventist Record | Edited

MARYLAND, USA - Preachers from other parts of the South Pacific will no longer be going to Papua New Guinea for a harvest program scheduled for May.

Church officers consulted with the PNG Union Mission about the inherent risks of the coronavirus pandemic before taking the difficult decision.

Continue reading "Coronavirus forces changes to SDA program" »

The PNG flu epidemic of 1969


ADELAIDE - In late 1969, I was summoned to the Assistant District Commissioner’s office in Kerema and told I was to prepare to go immediately on patrol in the mountains lying to the north of the town.

I was to be accompanied by three aid post orderlies and several police. Our task was to identify and treat people suffering from the Hong Kong Influenza, which was running rampant across the world and had finally reached Papua New Guinea.

Continue reading "The PNG flu epidemic of 1969" »

Getting HIV services to vulnerable people

UNAIDS Winnie-Byanyima-is-greeted-by-outreach-workers-at-Begabari-HIV-Clinic
UNAIDS executive director Winnie Byanyima greeted by outreach workers at Begabari HIV Clinic


PORT MORESBY - There are around 45,000 people living with HIV in Papua New Guinea, with marginalised groups such as sex workers, other women who exchange sex for money, goods and protection, gay men and other men who have sex with men, and transgender women most affected.

However, less than half of the people who belong to those vulnerable groups have ever taken a test to know their HIV status.

Continue reading "Getting HIV services to vulnerable people" »

Breaking the cycle of violence

Hercules Palme Jim
Hercules Palme Jim - "Not all young men in PNG want to abuse their wives or girlfriends. We've had enough!"


PORT MORESBY - It is disgusting to hear 'experts' or so called feminists in Papua New Guiea say that boys who grow up in broken homes, settlements, villages or homes with violence are prone to get involved in crime or violence.

I grew up in the village and the settlements without a father and have observed over the years my aunties and sisters being beaten up by their husbands almost everyday of my life as a child growing up.

Continue reading "Breaking the cycle of violence" »

Covid-19 would 'wipe out' Daru

Samuel Winggu (centre) leading a march of people in Daru
Samuel Winggu (centre) leading a march of people in Daru

| Radio New Zealand

DARU - Following unconfirmed reports of Covid-19 in Papua New Guinea's Western Province, the mayor of the provincial capital, Daru, has warned the coronavirus could "wipe out" his town.

Situated on an island of the same name off PNG's south coast, Daru is a colonial town initially designed to hold 5,000 people.

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Let’s have an environment repentance day

Nickson's team on the Kokoda Track as part of their marathon walk (T4G)
Nickson's team on the Kokoda Track as part of their marathon walk to fight climate change (T4G)


PORT MORESBY - Climate change is a global crisis and a multi-sectoral issue. It will take every living person in this decade to do something, big or small, to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to changes in weather patterns.

Nickson McManga, 35, from Kumdii in Western Highlands and his voice on climate change may not be as big as Greta Thunberg’s on the global scale but his is still a " compelling voice on the most important issue facing the planet”.

Continue reading "Let’s have an environment repentance day" »

Poor land use is worsening floods

News clip floodsKERRY KIMIAFA

GOROKA - It would be absurd to blame effects of climate change as the sole reason for sudden and unprecedented flooding in certain parts of Papua New Guinea, such as the recent case here in the Highlands.

But the truth is that we humans have abetted and induced flooding through land use changes, especially massive vegetation clearance.

Continue reading "Poor land use is worsening floods" »

Corona fears: Torres travel banned

Treaty villagesAARON SMITH
| Guardian Australia | Extracts

SYDNEY - Travel between the Torres Strait Islands and Papua New Guinea has been banned after unconfirmed reports of a coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak in the Western Province of PNG.

The PNG government has yet to confirm any cases of Covid-19 in the country but councillor Kebei Salee of the Western Province village of Sigabadaru, said there were unconfirmed cases in the villages of Buji and Ber, while cautioning that “we are waiting for the results of testing”.

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Planting trees to fight climate change

Mature raintree
The grandeur of a mature raintree


PORT MORESBY - Both in government corridors and private sector spaces, environmental conservation is now a hot topic.

Whether we talk about an international conference or the launch of a new green project, people are talking about preserving our Earth, incorporating a great deal of green innovative effort.

Continue reading "Planting trees to fight climate change" »

Embassy tries to quell corona concerns

Xue Bing  China's ambassador to PNG
Ambassador Xue Bing - "The xenophobic attacks against Chinese people are more serious than the corona virus itself"

| National Broadcasting Corporation

PORT MORESBY - Chinese citizens in Papua New Guinea are being urged to be cautious in their movements after growing discrimination due to the corona virus outbreak.

The Chinese embassy in PNG said it's worried about the stigma and hate speech the virus has caused on Chinese people, not only in PNG but in other countries as well.

Continue reading "Embassy tries to quell corona concerns" »

The big bad Australian buai boom

Betel nut gearMARIAN FAA
| ABC Far North

CAIRNS - Health experts are warning about the devastating consequences of chewing an illegal tropical nut with dentists across Australia reporting an alarming spike in oral cancer symptoms associated with the product.

Market vendors in far north Queensland said the intoxicating nut was being traded illegally in growing quantities across the country.

Continue reading "The big bad Australian buai boom" »

Communicate virus better say journos

| Media Council of Papua New Guinea

PORT MORESBY - The Media Council of PNG is calling on all state agencies involved in policing and securing the country’s borders and people against a potential novel coronavirus outbreak to be better coordinated and to collaborate more closely.

It also says PNG must ensure that all preparatory measures are clearly articulated to the mainstream media if people are to be kept informed and reassured of their safety.

Continue reading "Communicate virus better say journos" »

PNG reacts to corona virus

CoronavirusNEWS DESK
| PNG National Broadcasting Corporation & Sources

PORT MORESBY - The Papua New Guinea department of health has said PNG is among the high risk nations of contracting the corona virus because of its location in the Asia-Pacific region.

Acting health secretary Dr Paison Dakulala said PNG has joined the world in stepping up efforts to contain the deadly virus, which has so far infected 11,000 people and killed 200.

Continue reading "PNG reacts to corona virus" »