Ghana’s Forest Reserves under Threat
Written by John F. Akwetey (RAN Ghana)
In line with the government’s election campaign promise of a better Ghana Agenda, licences are given to multinational companies to mine in our forest reserves without proper consideration of its consequences after submitting a signed "Statement of Policies on Natural Resource and Environment,’’ to the European Commission.
These multinational mining companies use their money and power to deceive our leaders to allow them mine in our forest reserve after they have destroyed the off reserves areas in the country by polluting water bodies, violating human rights, and intimidating communities.
Many of our forest reserves across the country are home to endangered species of plants and animals, in addition to containing precious minerals like gold, diamond and bauxites which the mining companies have targeted for their activities. Examples include Sawla-Tuna-Kalba District where a mining company from Australia has started their operation, Agyenuapepo Forest Reserve in the Birim North area of the Eastern Region, and Newmont Limited who want to mine royal cemeteries in the Akyem Kotoku Traditional area.
The mining companies intimidate communities by using violence that results in death of Indigenous youth. In this year, at least seven or more death of community people have being recorded. Newmont Limited polluted several communities' water bodies and kept it secret from the communities and the government until a local NGO raised the issue.
These mining corporations are ready to pay their way out to have whatever they want, however we cannot rule out the payment of bribery by these mining companies to our leaders, since they protect their interest. These mining companies falsified documents claiming that the Indigenous communities have agreed with the mining activities in their area.
RAN Ghana would challenge any mining corporations that destroy the environment and violate human rights of Indigenous mining communities especially the youth who end being killed. We would also subject for advocacy in this direction to ensure that human rights of mining communities are not trampled on.
Finally, I would like to call on the government to stop granting mining concessions to these mining companies particularly in forest reserve.