News / 9 January 2012

Suriname urged to implement "Saramaka verdict”

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has pointed out to the Surinam Government that it must obey the "Saramaka verdict". On November 28th, 2008 Suriname lost the case that was brought against the government by the Saramaka community, led by - amongst others - Steward Hugo Jabini, presently a member of the Parliament of Suriname. Jabini is very active in the struggle against the exploitation of the territory of the Saramaka.

According to the verdict, Suriname must recognise the land rights of twelve Saramaka tribes and should start with the demarcation of their territory. Moreover, Suriname was sentenced to pay seventy thousand U.S. dollars in legal costs. In addition, the Surinamese government has to set up a fund for the tribes to foster development, education and economic activity in the Saramaka community.

Not just words

So far, hardly any measures have been taken: the Surinam government is taking no steps to actually execute the verdict, and has even publicly announced that it is not yet ready for implementation. The representatives of the Saramaka have informed the Court that the Surinam government continues to grant concessions on their land to third parties, which is, of course, contrary to the verdict, and is conducted without consulting the residents of the area.


The Surinam government has until March 30 to report in detail on what has been implemented so far to the Inter-American Court. In addition, the government is ordered to report back every three months. Both ENDS welcomes the increased pressure on the Surinam government to abide by the verdict and supports Stewart Hugo Jabini and the Saramaka in their struggle.

See also an earlier article on this subject: Both ENDS supports Steward Hugo Jabini

Photo: Building of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights

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