Killing Is Not The Solution To Illegal Mining
Many people have died in the name of fighting illegal mining or galamsey recently, this is an inhumane approach that will not solve the problem. The approach is wrong and unsustainable.
In a democracy such as ours, respect for human rights, dignity of the human person and the rule of law is supposed to be the watch word for all public officials in their dealings with every single citizen, at all times and in all places.
We are extremely worried about what is happening because we fear the following consequences:
- The approach is unsustainable
- It is creating loss of livelihoods and unemployment challenges without any ready remedy so far
- It can lead to violent resistance by those directly affected
- It can lead to the creation of rebel groups in affected mining communities in Ghana
- Could also develop dire security implications for the whole country in future
Stand Ghana is calling on the government and the unti-galamsey taskforce to change their approach to a more humane one to avoid further loss of life and property.
We cannot enforce the law by killing violators or potential violators.
Environmental Conservation : A Human Rights Imperative
Mining activities don’t just bring in gold and money, they impact negatively on the environment, land rights, and people’s livelihoods.
The big question is, is it right that communities and individuals remain at the mercy of mining companies whose activities destroy the environment and disregard people’s rights as if there are no laws? Should farmlands, which provide livelihoods for poor people, be destroyed in the name of mining?
The fact that indiscriminate removal of vegetation for mining activities is still taking place in alarming proportion, and local communities are displaced and deprived of their sources of livelihood and water should be of major concern to everyone.
Surely, the violation of people’s rights in this manner for economic gains is cruel, irresponsible and the worst thing to do.
Ghana’s Mining and Environmental policies and regulations appear to be guided by the preventative approach. The intention is that socio-economic activities must be undertaken in such a way as to avoid destroying the environment and trampling on the rights of individuals and groups.
Yet, despite their large numbers, these laws do not seem to be working. Especially, when it comes to the operations of small scale and illegal miners, there seems to be no laws regulating them, as prescribed regulations are hardly followed
We recognise that mining is crucial to Ghana due to the sector’s huge contribution to national revenue, foreign exchange and employment generation.
However, for many in mining areas, mining operations provide more negative consequences than positive, and this is not acceptable.
Let’s take firmer actions to save our environment from indiscriminate mining
Most worrying of all is that the people often affected are the poor and marginalised local inhabitants who do not have the resources and capacity to claim or fight for their rights.
Unfortunately, the relevant intuitions such as EPA, The Minerals Commission, the Police and others, whose responsibility it is to protect the rights of these vulnerable people are often unable to ensure that acceptable mining practices and procedures are used.
There is almost no effective impact of the work of relevant regulatory bodies in the mining sector. Indeed, we have seen images of how law enforcement agencies have raided mining sites, only for the miners to come back on site the next day to continue their destructive work.
What is not clear is what the purpose of most of the raids or visits to illegal mining sites are for. Is it to end the problem or just show the public that the authorities are working even if the problems remain unsolved?
The seemly lack of effective monitoring and implementation of relevant laws is a major worry for us at Stand Ghana. We do not believe enough is being done. The people of Ghana need the type of monitoring that will ensure mining companies can’t abuse the environment and get away with it. The people of Ghana deserve better monitoring and law enforcement.
We are no longer interested in mock monitoring. Monitoring that does not yield effective solutions is of no use to anyone, it is meant for the press and public show only. That sort of monitoring does not serve the interest of those who suffer from the negative impact of mining operations.
Finally, we at Stand Ghana are of the view that much more needs to done to protect the rights of poor and vulnerable local inhabitants in mining communities. We believe that, if authorities and all appropriate institutions are determined to make the law work, they can make happen.