Watchdog slams mining law as full of errors
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Civil Society Natural Resources Monitoring Network (CSNRMN) on Saturday warned if President Karzai issued a legislative decree to enforce the new draft mining law currently being debated in Parliament; it would benefit only a handful of companies and individuals.
The network, which represents around 40 civil society groups, said the existing mining law had many problems and shortcomings.
CSNRMN members told a press conference in Kabul the mining law did not serve the national interest, but benefitted extraction companies, traders, some Wolesi Jirga members, who are investors, Cabinet ministers and foreign investment firms.
Dr. Ibrahim Jafari, a member of the network, said the new mining law had no mention of special forces to preserve and protect mines, publishing details of contracts and allowing parliament to oversee the contract awarding process.
He said the bill did not deal with hazardous effects on environment by mineral extractions. People living near mines had not been promised any job opportunities, royalty rights or compensation for their lands identified as minefields, he said.
Another member of the network, Javed Noorani, said the creation of a special court to decide mines related issues was crucial to defending people’s rights.
He said a company should be fined on failing to implement the contract within the stipulated time, a move he believed would ensure transparency and protect income from mineral resources and people’s rights.
Due to weaknesses in the draft mining law, Noorani said the bill continued to be discussed by parliamentary panels. He said the Wolesi Jirga’s commission on environment protection and mineral resources should amend the draft on return from the recess. He said the amended version should serve the national interest.
Yet another member of the network, Zargai Sajjadi, said laws implemented through presidential decrees had often been ignored by parliament to be discussed or revoked, thus creating many problems.
She said it had been four years since the law on Elimination of Violence against Women was presented before the parliament, but the measure could neither be discussed nor amended.
The network members issued a statement asking President Karzai not to issue a legislative decree on the enforcement of the draft mining law during the parliament recess.
The statement claimed chambers of commerce and industries had called on the president to enforce the draft mining law in its current status through issuing a legislative decree.
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