Mining operators asked to obey government’s directive

Accra, Colonel Benjamin Amoah-Boakye, the Director of Army Legal Affairs, has advised players in the mining sector to obey the directives given by government to halt their activities.

He said this was necessary to enable government as well as the security personnel to differentiate from legal small scale miners and the illegal ones (Galamsey).

Col Amoah-Boakye said this at the fourth National Dialogue on the Implementation of Voluntary Principles (VPs) on Security and Human Rights, on the theme: Supporting the Governments Implementation of the VPs through Dialogue.

It was aimed at ensuring that issues that were affecting human rights and security of mining communities were looked at to make sure the safety of the people were guaranteed.

He said members of mining communities should know that in as much as they want their rights to be respected by security personnel they should also do what was expected of them for mutual understanding and stability.

You have your rights as people but know that we are here to protect and help mining companies live up to expectations, he stated.

He, therefore, urged small scale miners to streamline their documentations and wait on government directives to start their operation because by then a proper mode of identification to differentiate legal from illegal miners would have been known.

He called for collaboration from stakeholders to ensure that plans to tackle illegal mining were advanced to improve the economy.

Ms Hannah Blyth, Programmes Manager Fund For Peace, commended government for the joint security task force to maintain peace in the various mining communities.

She said in other to ensure people’s rights were not violated the personnel needed to be well trained to engage with the community constructively.

Ms Blyth appealed to the joint task force to use the applicable international law enforcement principles, such as the United Nations (UN) code on the conduct of law enforcement officials and the UN basic principles on the use of force and firearms by the law enforcement officials.

They should use UN recognised use of force principles to ensure the rights of people are not violated and the use of force should be proportionate to the risk at hand to deal with such sensitive communities.

She said there should be measures in place to enable victims report abuse cases that involved security personnel for redress.

She also urged the media and civil society groups to be vigilante in this regard to reduce potential issues.

According to Ms Blyth the National Action Plan on VPs could help improve training for security forces both private and public.

She called for the implementation to be reviewed and finalised because it was crucial and could help in tracking down on the galamsey issues.

Education, baseline approach is what mining companies need to enable them build on multi stakeholder collaboration to talk about these issues constructively and come out with appropriate measures to address it, she added

The VPs is a set of guidelines to help companies work with local communities and government together to improve safety and promote peace in oil and gas and mining affected areas while respecting human rights.

This was organised by Fund for Peace in partnership with the West African Network for Peacebuilding-Ghana and funded by the US Department of State.

Source: Ghana News Agency