Thirty participants from 13 Ghanaian government ministries and agencies have gone through a four-day Voluntary Principles and Human Rights Workshop sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Accra, U.S. AFRICOM, and the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).
The training was designed to help government establish best practices in the extractive industries.
During the workshop participants gained tools that can be used to implement a multi-faceted security sector response to conflict that arises in communities around the extractive industries.
Participants also visited Newmont Ghana’s Akyem mine site to learn how the company implements the Voluntary Principles in practice. The participants will take the knowledge acquired from the workshop and implement it into the strategic plans of their respective ministries and agencies, which will help further Ghana’s comprehensive Voluntary Principles National Action Plan.
Established in 2000, the Voluntary Principles are the only human rights guidelines designed specifically for oil, gas and mining companies. The Voluntary Principles guide companies in conducting a comprehensive human rights risk assessment in their engagement with public and private security providers to ensure human rights are respected in the protection of company facilities and premises. Participants in the Voluntary Principles Initiative—including governments, companies, and NGOs—agree to proactively implement or assist in the implementation of the Voluntary Principles.
Ghana became the first African country to sign on to the Voluntary Principles in 2014; subsequently, government worked closely with civil society and the private sector to develop a Voluntary
Principles National Action Plan.
“The Voluntary Principles have been recognized as a global standard in the oil, gas, and mining industries,” said U.S. Ambassador Robert Jackson, speaking at the workshop opening. “The initiative has led to better security and safety for people living in countries that have extractive industries. Since the 2014 signing, the government of Ghana has made significant progress in this area.
Further progress, however, will require more hard work and collaboration. The U.S. Embassy has pledged its support to help Ghana achieve the goals stated in its National Action Plan. We look forward to the continued partnership with the Government of Ghana in implementing better security and human rights protections across the country.”
PA News Desk