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General News of Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Source: GNA

Stop Human Right Abuses - Mining Companies Told

Accra, June 14, GNA - Mining companies operating in Ghana should stop human rights abuses 96 killing and maiming people and destroying their houses, crops, fishponds - in mining communities, WACAM, human rights and mining advocacy nongovernmental organisation (NGO), has said.

"Foreign multinational mining companies have a responsibility to behave as good corporate citizens and to stop using their financial and lobbying might to violate the rights of poor people," Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, Executive Director of WACAM, said on Monday when the NGO presented financial support to victims of human rights abuses perpetrated by mining companies.

They were Mr Awudu Mohammed of Obuasi for his medical expenses from gunshot he received from security men of AngloGold Ashanti; Mr James Sarpong, who had his property destroyed to make way for the establishment of AngloGold Ashanti Teberebie Mine Rock Waste Dump and Miss Sandra Sarpong, daughter of a victim, who was arrested by security men from AngloGold Ashanti at Sansu, an Obuasi suburb, but died in their custody.

Mr Owusu-Koranteng said: 93Ghana is being engulfed with many human right violations and environmental degradation associated with mining and we must not allow ourselves to be trampled upon by mining companies because they generate income for the country."

He urged Managements of multinational mining companies operating in the country to be good corporate citizens and to stop violating the rights of people living in the mining communities.

He appealed to the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to expedite action on issues of human rights abuses reported to it from the mining communities and called on the Government and stakeholders to protect the citizens in these communities from abuse.

Mr Owusu-Koranteng said: 93Government has the primary responsibility to protect the sovereign rights of every citizen. There is no justification for people living in mining communities to suffer from human rights abuses and environmental injustice from the Managements of mining companies."

Mr Richard Kwevor, Country Representative of OXFAM America, an NGO, called on the Government to tackle issues of human rights violations in the country and urged the media to partner WACAM to protect the interest of the poor and defenceless by providing continuous education to them on their rights and to encourage them to take action on any abuse perpetrated against them.

WACAM Ghana seeks to protect the environment, natural resources and the rights of marginalised mining communities through advocacy campaign and representation within the country's legal framework and is sensitive to the concerns of mining communities in the country.

WACAM Ghana has over the years been involved in supporting victims, whose rights have been trampled upon and have been denied their livelihoods through the activities of mining companies.