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26.09.2005 Regional News

Mining companies urged to respect laws

By GNA
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Obuasi, Sept 26, GNA - Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, the Executive Director of the Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM), has appealed to mining companies not to take the law into their own hands because of their wealth and power and apply sanctions they deem fit to people who trespass on their concessions.

He said persons who are caught trespassing on mining concessions should be made to face the laws of the country.

WACAM is a non-governmental organization fighting against human rights abuses on mining communities by mining companies. Mr Owusu-Koranteng, who was addressing a meeting of a cross section of people from mining communities in and around Obuasi on Saturday, condemned the practice whereby mining companies use security agencies like the military and the police to intimidate mining communities for fighting for their legitimate rights.

''Nobody will be safe in his or her own country when mining companies administer instant justices by way of shooting.'' He said WACAM would work towards strengthening the country's laws for the betterment of all the citizens.

Mr Owusu-Koranteng urged members of the association to ensure the arrest of people in their communities who poison streams and rivers for fish since WACAM took serious view of such practices.

"We take this method of fishing seriously since WACAM is fighting against all forms of environmental pollution. We take this poisoning of rivers as serious as cyanide spillage into rivers by mining companies", he said.

Mr Owusu-Koranteng touched on the existing mining law and said the law was weak since mining communities were not protected in any way.

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