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CSOs Blast Newmont Over Arrest of Farmers In Terchire

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Four civil society groups (CSOs) have berated Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL) for the arrest of farmers in Terchire, one of the host communities in Ahafo Region, to the mining company.

The condemnation by the four CSOs—Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL), Wacam, A Rocha Ghana and Centre for Environmental Impact Analysis (CEPIA), follows a complaint lodged by Newmont at the Tano North District Police which caused the arrest of four farmers in Terchire on Wednesday, September 6, 2023.

A statement signed by the Executive Directors, Wacam, Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng; CEPIL, Lawyer Augustine Niber; CEPIA, Dr Samuel Obiri, and; Deputy National Director, A Rocha, Darl Bosu, the CSOs made it clear that Newmont has a history in gross disregard for the rights of people affected by their operations.

“The history of Newmont globally is replete with rights violations such as intimidation of indigenous people. It has become a common behaviour of Newmont to adopt intimidating tactics against host communities and Advocacy NGOs like Wacam and Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL) to exercise their mandate of working among communities that are affected by the operations of Newmont,” the statement asserted.

Below is the full statement
CSOs CONDEMN THE DESTRUCTION OF FARMS, BY NEWMONT AHAFO OPERATIONS, ARREST AND DETENTION OF FARMERS

On Wednesday 6th September, 2023, about 12:30 pm, four community people from Terchire belonging to the Concerned Farmer’s Association, Terchire, Ahafo Region were arrested and detained by the Tano North District Police for protecting their farm properties from destruction by Newmont. The four-community people on a visit to their farm noticed that John Mensah, the Chairman of the Concerned Farmers Association’s farm was being destroyed by workers or agents of Newmont. In the act of protecting Mr Mensah’s farm from destruction, the farmers were arrested on the farm by the Tano North District Police. Prior to the arrest of these four people, three other farmers, Mr Yaw Adu, Mr John Mensah and Mr Emmanuel Kwame Marfo were arrested in a similar manner by the Tano North District Police upon complaint by Newmont Gold Ghana Limited that these three farmers had trespassed onto Newmont’s concession and destroyed their property. They were arraigned before the Circuit Court, Duayaw Nkwanta in the Tano North District on Monday 4th September 2023. The Court admitted the farmers to bail pending the final determination of the trial. The company within the months of July, August and September 2023 had entered the lands of farmers and unlawfully destroyed the farmers farm properties without the consent of the owners or negotiating payment of compensation for their farm properties. The destroyed properties comprise teak trees, cocoa farms, palm trees and food crops belong to John Mensah, Beatrice Mensah, Yaw Paul Asare, Abraham Amo, Silas Adjei Mensah, Gabriel Kofi Nelson, Abubakar Sadick and Emmanuel Kwame Marfo. These farms serve as the main source of livelihood for these farmers. Similarly, it is also worrying that there is a re-occurrence of intimidation in Newmont Akyem project area. On Friday, the 10th of March 2023, a team of Wacam and CEPIL volunteers were stopped from conducting a survey by the District Chief Executive (DCE) of the Birim North District Mr Raymond Nana Damptey based on false allegation that Wacam and CEPIL did not inform the district administration before undertaking a research on the social and economic impact on the operations of Newmont Akyem Mine. Not only did the DCE confront and issue banning orders to Wacam and CEPIL staff and volunteers, he also caused announcements to be made that the Survey team from Wacam and CEPIL were fraudsters and therefore the communities should not grant them audience. He further threatened the team that he cannot ensure their safety in the District should they remain in the community and ordered them to leave. Historically, the operations of Newmont in Ghana have been associated with gross disregard for the rights of the people affected by their operations. The history of Newmont globally is replete with rights violations such as intimidation of indigenous people. It has become a common behaviour of Newmont to adopt intimidating tactics against host communities and Advocacy NGOs like Wacam and Center for Public Interest Law (CEPIL) to exercise their mandate of working among communities that are affected by the operations of Newmont. We recall that in 2006, Newmont Ghana Gold Limited through orchestrated lies, used its agents and the Police to arrest some innocent farmers and human rights defenders including a staff from the then Oxfam America West Africa Office; who were having a meeting in a Community Centre in Yamfo to discuss the effect of the operations of Newmont on community livelihoods and environment. The community people were remanded in Prison Custody by a Court for two weeks. The victims were only released after ten (10) days due to campaigns from CSOs. The offence of the community people and the Oxfam America Official was that they were holding a meeting without police permit. These are but a few of the examples of the unethical operational culture of Newmont. These are some of the reasons why in 2009, Wacam nominated Newmont Ghana Gold Limited for the Public Eye Shaming Award. Newmont Ghana Limited has a global history of intimidating community people to impose its operations which is associated with serious negative social and environmental consequences on poor farmers in addition to payment of compensation that do not restore the livelihood of the affected people. Newmont had faced accusations of environmental and human rights abuses at its operations in countries such as Peru, Indonesia and Ghana have made the company a frequent target of corporate accountability campaigns for many years. With this shaming Public Eye Award Newmont Ghana Gold Limited became a member of the companies with bad records of violations of the rights of affected communities and environmental degradation.

Daniel Owusu-Koranteng
Executive Director of Wacam

Augustine Niber Esq.
Executive Director Centre for Public Interest Law

Samuel Obiri (Dr)
Executive Director, Centre for Environmental Impact Analysis

Daryl Bosu
Dep. National Director, A Rocha Ghanarmers

Four civil society groups (CSOs) have berated Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL) for the arrest of farmers in Terchire, one of the host communities in Ahafo Region, to the mining company.

The condemnation by the four CSOs—Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL), Wacam, A Rocha Ghana and Centre for Environmental Impact Analysis (CEPIA), follows a complaint lodged by Newmont at the Tano North District Police which caused the arrest of four farmers in Terchire on Wednesday, September 6, 2023.

A statement signed by the Executive Directors, Wacam, Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng; CEPIL, Lawyer Augustine Niber; CEPIA, Dr Samuel Obiri, and; Deputy National Director, A Rocha, Darl Bosu, the CSOs made it clear that Newmont has a history in gross disregard for the rights of people affected by their operations.

“The history of Newmont globally is replete with rights violations such as intimidation of indigenous people. It has become a common behaviour of Newmont to adopt intimidating tactics against host communities and Advocacy NGOs like Wacam and Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL) to exercise their mandate of working among communities that are affected by the operations of Newmont,” the statement asserted.

Below is the full statement
CSOs CONDEMN THE DESTRUCTION OF FARMS, BY NEWMONT AHAFO OPERATIONS, ARREST AND DETENTION OF FARMERS

On Wednesday 6th September, 2023, about 12:30 pm, four community people from Terchire belonging to the Concerned Farmer’s Association, Terchire, Ahafo Region were arrested and detained by the Tano North District Police for protecting their farm properties from destruction by Newmont. The four-community people on a visit to their farm noticed that John Mensah, the Chairman of the Concerned Farmers Association’s farm was being destroyed by workers or agents of Newmont. In the act of protecting Mr Mensah’s farm from destruction, the farmers were arrested on the farm by the Tano North District Police. Prior to the arrest of these four people, three other farmers, Mr Yaw Adu, Mr John Mensah and Mr Emmanuel Kwame Marfo were arrested in a similar manner by the Tano North District Police upon complaint by Newmont Gold Ghana Limited that these three farmers had trespassed onto Newmont’s concession and destroyed their property. They were arraigned before the Circuit Court, Duayaw Nkwanta in the Tano North District on Monday 4th September 2023. The Court admitted the farmers to bail pending the final determination of the trial. The company within the months of July, August and September 2023 had entered the lands of farmers and unlawfully destroyed the farmers farm properties without the consent of the owners or negotiating payment of compensation for their farm properties. The destroyed properties comprise teak trees, cocoa farms, palm trees and food crops belong to John Mensah, Beatrice Mensah, Yaw Paul Asare, Abraham Amo, Silas Adjei Mensah, Gabriel Kofi Nelson, Abubakar Sadick and Emmanuel Kwame Marfo. These farms serve as the main source of livelihood for these farmers. Similarly, it is also worrying that there is a re-occurrence of intimidation in Newmont Akyem project area. On Friday, the 10th of March 2023, a team of Wacam and CEPIL volunteers were stopped from conducting a survey by the District Chief Executive (DCE) of the Birim North District Mr Raymond Nana Damptey based on false allegation that Wacam and CEPIL did not inform the district administration before undertaking a research on the social and economic impact on the operations of Newmont Akyem Mine. Not only did the DCE confront and issue banning orders to Wacam and CEPIL staff and volunteers, he also caused announcements to be made that the Survey team from Wacam and CEPIL were fraudsters and therefore the communities should not grant them audience. He further threatened the team that he cannot ensure their safety in the District should they remain in the community and ordered them to leave. Historically, the operations of Newmont in Ghana have been associated with gross disregard for the rights of the people affected by their operations. The history of Newmont globally is replete with rights violations such as intimidation of indigenous people. It has become a common behaviour of Newmont to adopt intimidating tactics against host communities and Advocacy NGOs like Wacam and Center for Public Interest Law (CEPIL) to exercise their mandate of working among communities that are affected by the operations of Newmont. We recall that in 2006, Newmont Ghana Gold Limited through orchestrated lies, used its agents and the Police to arrest some innocent farmers and human rights defenders including a staff from the then Oxfam America West Africa Office; who were having a meeting in a Community Centre in Yamfo to discuss the effect of the operations of Newmont on community livelihoods and environment. The community people were remanded in Prison Custody by a Court for two weeks. The victims were only released after ten (10) days due to campaigns from CSOs. The offence of the community people and the Oxfam America Official was that they were holding a meeting without police permit. These are but a few of the examples of the unethical operational culture of Newmont. These are some of the reasons why in 2009, Wacam nominated Newmont Ghana Gold Limited for the Public Eye Shaming Award. Newmont Ghana Limited has a global history of intimidating community people to impose its operations which is associated with serious negative social and environmental consequences on poor farmers in addition to payment of compensation that do not restore the livelihood of the affected people. Newmont had faced accusations of environmental and human rights abuses at its operations in countries such as Peru, Indonesia and Ghana have made the company a frequent target of corporate accountability campaigns for many years. With this shaming Public Eye Award Newmont Ghana Gold Limited became a member of the companies with bad records of violations of the rights of affected communities and environmental degradation.

Daniel Owusu-Koranteng
Executive Director of Wacam

Augustine Niber Esq.
Executive Director Centre for Public Interest Law

Samuel Obiri (Dr)
Executive Director, Centre for Environmental Impact Analysis

Daryl Bosu
Dep. National Director, A Rocha Ghana

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