News / 5 October 2011

Both ENDS supports Stuart Hugo Jabini

Stuart Hugo Jabini, a Saramakan who was raised on the Upper Surinam River, made a stand against the plans of the Surinam government to cut down the forest in which his community lives. On his behalf the Forest People Programme (FPP), a non-governmental organisation that campaigns for the rights of indigenous forest people, won a case against the Surinam government at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The court forbid the plans of exploiting the Saramakan territory for industrial development. This resulted in an international landmark ruling for indigenous and tribal communities to prevent exploitation of their livelihoods.


Still, further steps need to be taken to empower Jabini's community and to convince the Surinam government to implement the court decision in national laws. Although the decision of the court is recognised throughout the world, few people in Surinam know what is going on. To further strengthen his battle and to improve communication he recently became a Member of Parliament. Jabini is increasing pressure on the government, but he lacks financial support to educate his people about their new rights, and for his campaign. Recently he brought a visit to the headquarters of Both ENDS to brainstorm about next steps to be taken.

Jabini: "Our ancestors fought for and won their freedom from slavery and established autonomous communities. We fight for and won our right for legal recognition, controlling and managing our territory."

Photo by Vicente Franco/Courtesy of Goldman Environmental Prize

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