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Mining operators asked to obey government’s directive

By
Samira Larbie, GNA

Accra, Aug. 2, GNA – 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.

GNA

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