WANEP urges calm in mining communities
The West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) is urging communities affected by mining to reject violence and do everything to use dialogue to address, whatever grievances, they have.
Mr. Albert Yelyang, its National Coordinator, said resorting to violent clashes was not the way to resolve problems between them and the mining companies.
The call comes amid rising tension between AngloGold Ashanti and small scale miners in the Obuasi Municipality over mining concession.
He was contributing to discussions at a day’s workshop organized for key stakeholders in the mining industry on “Voluntary principles on security and human rights (VPSHR)” held at Obuasi.
The VPSHR are a set of principles designed to guide mining companies to maintain the safety and security of their operations within an operating framework that encourages respect for human rights.
These were adopted in year 2,000 and being implemented by many of the world’s leading oil, gas and mining companies.
The workshop was organized jointly by the Fund for Peace (FFP) and WANEP and brought together miners, private security companies, civil society organizations, community leaders and the media.
Mr. Yelyang underlined the need for the companies to put in place early warning systems to enable them to detect looming trouble and act quickly to fix things.
He recommended a multi-stakeholder engagement to find enduring solution to the unhealthy and unending confrontation between host mining communities and miners.
Mr. J. J. Messner, Executive Director of FFP, asked the companies to make sure that security forces protecting the mines were competent, well-trained and had clean records.
They should conduct regular and comprehensive risk assessment to enable them to adopt appropriate security arrangements.
He noted that both Ghana and AngloGold Ashanti, had signed on to the voluntary principles and called for strict adherence to minimize conflict in the mining areas.