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28.11.2005 General News

Mining companies violate UN and OECD Guidelines

By GNA
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Accra, Nov. 28, GNA - United Nations Conventions and African Charter on Human Rights have failed to protect the rights of mining communities in Ghana, participants at a workshop on Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines in Tema, have observed.

They said some mining companies from OECD countries had not adhered to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises that enjoined them to respect the rights of communities affected by mining.

These were contained in a resolution passed at the end of the workshop organised the Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Watch, both nongovernmental organisations (NGOs). The workshop discussed the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and UN Conventions and their relevance to the advancement and protection of the economic, cultural and social rights of mining communities.

The participants said Bogoso Gold Limited, a US-Canadian company owned by Golden Star Resources and Newmont Ghana Gold Limited, a US company, had ignored the tenets of OECD Guidelines adding that AngloGold Ashanti had also violated the principles of the UN Global Compact. "The situation poses a challenge to the judicial system and underscores the need for effective education to make our judicial system sensitive to International Conventions and Declarations, which have been ratified by the Government of Ghana", they said.

The participants called for the support of Parliament to consider the violation of community rights in relation to the Mining and Minerals Bill and also urged the Judiciary and Regulatory Institutions to ensure social accountability of mining companies and environmental justice for mining communities.

The participants pledged to play their watchdog roles in ensuring that multinational mining companies operated with the same standards in Ghana as they would have done in their home countries.

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