Indigenous Surinamese protest for land rights
Indo-Surinamese people are protesting in the capital of Paramaribo today, on the International Day of Indigenous Peoples. Despite numerous promises by Desi Bouterse, they still have no formal control over their land and they are now holding the government to its promises, NOS reports.
According to the broadcaster, the original inhabitants of Suriname want to hand over petition to Bouterse, but it is questionable whether he will how up to receive it. "The indigenous population of the country as been set aside by every government. They are not taken seriously", NOS correspondent Harmem Boerboom said to the broadcaster.
It is definitely not in the Surinamese government's interest to hand over the long-hoped-for land to the indigenous population. The land involved covers thousands of square kilometers, is full of natural resources like gold and already houses other people, like the Maroons - descendants of Africans brought to Suriname as slaves.
In February the Inter-American Court of Human Rights reprimanded Suriname on this issue, stating that the government did not properly regulate the legal recognition of the rights of indigenous people. But so far this reprimand had little effect.