Review mining laws to make them gender sensitive – Stakeholders

Stakeholders at a sub-national policy dialogue to strengthen the regulatory framework in the extractive and cocoa sector, have called for a review of the country’s mining laws and regulations to make them gender sensitive.

This, according to them, would help provide extensive provisions on gender and address unique barriers that prevented more women from working in the large scale, artisanal and small-scale mining sector.

The stakeholders, among other things, also urged that the new mining policy and legal framework should ensure that women interested in artisanal and small-scale mining would have access to technical and financial resources.

Mr. Kwaku Afari, Technical Director of Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM), speaking at the policy dialogue said the issue of mining and how it affected the gender components of society needed to be addressed.

“When you go deeper into the adverse effects, women, children and youth are greatly affected,” he said at the dialogue, organized by the Center for Public Interest Law (CEPIL)I- Kumasi.

It was aimed at identifying the weaknesses in the existing laws and regulations and to find a way of strengthening the regulatory framework to prevent violations against people especially, women affected by the extractive and agricultural – cocoa production value chains in Ghana.

It brought together officials from the Minerals Commission, COCOBOD, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), (WACAM) and women farmer groups from mining and cocoa growing communities.

Mr Afari said the mining issues affected women in the rural communities so much because they depend a lot on the water and forest resources for their sustenance.

In instances, where mining comes in, research had shown that the women lose access to the lands and lose livelihoods, compensation payments are not adequate to sustain the livelihood of these women and the youth are deprived of employment,” he stated.

Mr Afari recommended that the country’s mining policies and legal frameworks should be reviewed to ensure that the distribution and transfer of mining took women into account and that, these women benefited from mining incomes.

At the forum, which highlighted the prospects in the cocoa production and mining, effects on the rights of community members, as well as the environmental and health dangers, some artisanal miners are exposed to, other discussants noted that cocoa farming and mining were important activities that contributed significantly to the country’s socio-economic development.

However, in recent times, methods used in mining had resulted in severe competition with cocoa production in terms of land, since many cocoa farms have now been used for mining.

Mr. Augustine Niber, Executive Director of CEPIL, said members in mining and farming communities were faced with various forms of human rights violations.

Some violations, according to him, were that some women and youth in the communities were not paid due amounts of land compensation or the compensation did not reflect its principles.

Those who tried to resist the violations were arrested in the process.

Mr. Niber said robust policies and legal frameworks were needed to ensure peaceful co-existence between mining and cocoa production without violating the rights of the marginalized in the communities.

Source: GNA

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