29.02.2008 General News

Address grievances within the confines of the law

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Mr. Richard Ellimah, Coordinator of Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM), has appealed to communities, especially those in mining areas, to resort to the law in addressing their grievances.

He said it was not good to resort to violence in resolving issues.

Mr. Ellimah said this at a public hearing organized by Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) at Tarkwa for security men, traditional rulers, civil organizations and the general public.

The hearing was under the theme: "Improving the Relationship Between the Police and the Public in Ghana".

He said the core of the problem in mining communities had to do with competing interests of companies that are pursuing their corporate agenda and communities that are interested in securing their livelihood.

Mr Elima said in a situation like this conflicts are bound to occur “and what is bothering is the means by which such conflicts are resolved.”

He mentioned the use of guard dogs, the military and the police to suppress communities demonstrating against mining companies.

For example in Prestea soldiers and police were used to flush out illegal miners and at Yanfo in the Brong-Ahafo Region two years ago some members of the community were arrested for organizing a meeting without police permit.

Mrs Nana Yamfuah Amua-Sekyi, Western Regional Director of Commission on Human Right and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) who chaired the function, said the police should open up to the public to avoid mistrust and misunderstanding.

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