Civil Society demands the establishment of an Ombudsperson for the Mining Sector in accordance with International Best Standards

The Anti-Corruption and Governance Committee of the Civil Society Joint Working Group (CSJWG) and Mining Watch Afghanistan (MWA) held a joint meeting on 20th April  2019 at Integrity Watch Afghanistan and discussed the creation of a mining ombudsperson The group emphasized that the mining ombudsperson should be created in accordance with international best standards such as those approved by the Organization of Economic Corporation and Development (OECD) or the International Ombudsperson Association (IOA) to enable it to oversee maladministration and violations of human rights in the sector.

The Afghan Ministry of Mines and Petroleum (MOMP) has proposed the establishment of an ombudsperson in the draft mining regulation but the group is adamant that the proposal does not meet global standards for the establishment of such an institution. The main deficiencies which were indicated by the participants included the lack of financial and administrative independence of the ombudsperson, the recruitment process, and the scope of work being limited to small scale minerals mining.

The civil society group discussed how the government can adopt international best standards and ensure independence and efficient functioning of the Ombudsperson. The group suggested that instead of the ombudsperson being a single person, an office of mining ombudsperson with the authority to oversee maladministration and violations of human rights should be established where the ombudsperson is selected through a competitive process led by civil society and communities for a fixed term in office. The group agreed to continue their advocacy with government and other stakeholders to ensure the independence of the mining ombudsperson.

The Anti-Corruption and Governance Committee of CSJWG is a forum of civil society organizations created to coordinate anti-corruption activities and advocate for major issues on the behalf of the civil society fraternity. Mining Watch Afghanistan, a network of civil society organizations working in the mining sector, was established in 2015. Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA) is the elected secretariat for both groups.