Regional News of Wednesday, 29 November 2006
Accra, Nov. 29, GNA - The Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM) has condemned the intimidating tactics of Brong Ahafo Regional Police Commander, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Opare Addo and the arrest of the West Africa Regional Governance Advisor of Oxfam America, Ibrahima Aidara and six others.
A statement signed by the Executive Secretary of WACAM, Mr Daniel Owusu Koranteng on Wednesday said the arrest of Mr Aidara and six activists of WACAM took place on Monday November 27.
The statement said Mr Aidara was holding a meeting with the Yamfo Community, one of the communities affected by the mining activities of Newmont Gold Ghana Limited, to solicit first hand information before a scheduled tour/meeting with officials of the Newmont Ahafo Mine Project Site on November 28.
It said ACP Opare Addo accused the organisers of holding a meeting at a public place without permit. Since when was a state of emergency declared in Yamfo to demand that permit be obtained before private meetings are held?
WACAM said: "It is shameful and an act of cowardice that poor, powerless citizens cannot freely organise a private meeting to discuss issues bothering their livelihood because they are not complying with the desires of a powerful multinational company."
The statement said WACAM was 93worried about the spate of Police brutalities on poor and defenceless mining communities usually instigated by powerful and influential mining companies=94.
WACAM said it was 94disappointed that this incident happened a few days after Her Excellency Mary Robinson, Former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights had issued a release calling on both the Government and mining companies to take steps to end growing violence in mining communities perpetrated by security agencies=94.
The statement urged Newmont to stop using the Police or the Military to brutalise and violate communities' rights to have meetings, peaceful protests and demonstrations.
The Company should also recognise and respect human rights in accordance with socially responsible corporate practice as well as implement appropriate mechanisms for consultation, participation and dialogue with relevant stakeholders, within appropriate time frames and timely information as a way of reducing mistrust and conflicts.