The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mr Joe Ghartey, has expressed the need for mining communities to live in harmony with mining companies and not to let mining become another catalyst for conflict in the country.
He was speaking at the launch of “The State of Human Rights in Mining Communities in Ghana,” a publication by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) on human rights in mining communities in the country.
The publication, which is the result of almost two years of research by CHRAJ, compiles trends of human rights in mining communities nationwide and the underlying causes of the phenomenon.
Mr Ghartey described the launch of the publication as an important event and process that had to lead to the peaceful co-existence of people living in mining communities with the companies that were engaged in mining.
He commended CHRAJ for the innovative way of expressing its mandate and taking the lead to ensure a common platform for redressing challenges in the sector.
The commitment of the government, he said, was also shown by the initiation of a process by the Law Reform Commission to review the mining law to redress some of the challenges.
A commissioner of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), Mr Musa Ngary Bitaye, who is in the country for a five-day sensitisation tour, said social, economic and cultural rights were areas of focus of the commission because they were linked to all other rights.
He said it was because of the violation of such rights on the continent that had prompted a study by the commission to investigate acts of non-state actors and governments in the abuse of the rights of people in the extractive sector.
The Chief Executive of the Minerals Commission, Mr Ben Laryee, who represented the Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines, said the ministry was committed to ensuring that mining was engaged in peacefully in the country.
To that end, he noted that the drafting of regulations on compensation and resettlement was almost complete to ensure prompt payment of a fair compensation.
He said the issue of resettlement and compensation had been some of the issues that had brought about confusion in mining areas and the regulations would ensure predictability and clearness on the matter.
The Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Richard Quayson, said the pledge by all partners in December 2006, to work to unearth trends of abuses and their causes had been redeemed with the launch of the publication.
He said the report was not a material that cast blame on any partner but was a genuine attempt to enlist the help of all partners to collaborate on the matter.