Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, said government will protect the human rights of Chinese nationals arrested for illegal mining, otherwise known as ‘galamsey.’
He said government believed in the rule of law and would use judicial procedures to prosecute foreigners involved in illegal small-scale mining, and not mishandle them.
Mr Jinapor gave the assurance when the new Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Lu Kun, paid a courtesy call on him at the Ministry in Accra, on Friday.
The Minister said Ghana’s laws did not allow foreigners to engage in small-scale mining, however, there had been instances where some Chinese nationals had been caught engaging in galamsey and subsequently arrested by the law enforcement authorities.
The Minister, therefore, urged the new Chinese Ambassador to cooperate with government to ensure the Chinese nationals abided by the mining laws.
He said the bilateral relations between Ghana and China dated back to the 1960s and should be sustained for the mutual benefit of their citizens.
Mr Jinapor reiterated government’s determination to rid the country’s water bodies and forest cover of persons and logistics involved in illegal small-scale mining, irrespective of the foreign nationals involved.
Mr Lu Kun, the Chinese Ambassador, pledged to cooperate with the Government to ensure that Chinese nationals resident in Ghana complied with the laws of the land.
He urged Ghana to tighten immigration laws to make it difficult for foreign migrants to get Ghanaian visas to enter the country to do galamsey.
He recounted the diplomatic relations between Ghana and China dating back to 1960s and pledged to sustain it for their mutual benefit.
Currently, he said, more than 6,000 Ghanaian students were on Chinese Government scholarships, studying various courses in Chinese universities.
Therefore, he said, it was imperative to maintain the bilateral relations to propel the economic development of the two countries.