The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) is in touch with the Embassy of Switzerland, in Ghana, for a possible collaboration to address the impact of businesses in mining communities.
Holding preliminary discussions on the subject with the Ambassador of Switzerland, Her Excellency Simone Giger, Mr. Joseph Whittal, the CHRAJ Commissioner, bemoaned the human rights violations and abuses experienced by the people as a result of mining activities, resulting in the destruction of land and property as a major concern, hence the need to collaborate with institutions that share similar values and interests to make determined efforts to deal with it.
Commissioner Whittal indicated that the Commission has undertaken several human rights interventions in these mining areas, and was hopeful that this collaboration would bring a new approach in tackling the menace.
He said the Commission’s services are easily accessible in the mining communities, and receives numerous complaints on human rights violations and related issues. He, therefore, encouraged community members who are facing challenges with these operations to just walk into any of the CHRAJ’s offices within their area and lodge their complaints.
Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, Madam Mercy Larbi in her contribution stated that the Commission is collaborating with the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General’s Department as co-chair of the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights Development Steering Committee to incorporate the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights into the development of a National Action Plan for Ghana.
She said the committee was put together after the successful launch of the National Baseline Assessment on Business and Human Rights Report which revealed gaps that required urgent attention by the Government to ensure that operations of businesses in the communities are given a human rights face.
Other key issues discussed centered on addressing cultural practices involving discrimination and stigmatization against vulnerable and key populations, decriminalization of petty offences to decongest prisons, and the elimination of the worst forms of child labor in cocoa, fishing and mining communities.
Her Excellency Simone Giger in recognition of the Commission’s achievements, assured of her embassy’s support, all things being equal, and looked forward to a fruitful collaboration with the Commission.