(en) Suriname update

Mon, 3 Mar 1997 16.10 GMT

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>Approved-By: hr.indigenous@GNOSYS.SVLE.MA.US
>Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 14:44:00 +0000
>Reply-To: hr.indigenous@gnosys.svle.ma.us
>Sender: "NATIVE-L Aboriginal Peoples: news & information"
> <NATIVE-L@listserv.tamu.edu>
>From: hr.indigenous@gnosys.svle.ma.us
>Subject: Suriname update
>To: NATIVE-L@listserv.tamu.edu
>Original Sender: wrm@gn.apc.org
>Mailing List: NATIVE-L
> Information Update on Suriname
>February 22, 1997
>1. World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank to Consider Funding
>Programmes in Suriname
>Suriname is seeking funds from the World Bank and Inter-American Development
>Bank. It is scheduled to submit a funding proposal to the banks in March.
>According to Finance Minister, Mungra, environmental protection measures are
>to figure prominently in Suriname's proposal. This news came after a
>Surinamese delegation traveled to Washington DC to meet with staff of the
>Banks. Concrete details of what Suirname will seek funds for are not
>available at this time.
>2. West Suriname Project Revived
>There has been a lot of activity related to the revival of the West Suriname
>or Kabellebo project recently. This project involves constructing a
>hydroelectric scheme to provide energy for industrial operations. In
>particular, the exploitation of bauxite reserves in West Suriname as
>reserves in East Suriname are dwindling. Rumors were ciruclating last year
>that the Dutch government and a Dutch private energy corporation were
>interested in providing finance. However, recent events indicate that
>Surianme is turning to its neighbour Brazil for support. The President has
>made a number of trips to Brazil as has National Democratic Party leader,
>Desi Bouterse, to discuss the Kabellebo project in pasr weeks and a
>Brazillian delegation is expected in Suriname shortly.
>The area slated for this project and for bauxite mining is one of high
>biological diversity with a significant population of endemic species.
>These activities will also affect Indigenous peoples who live in the region,
>namely Carib and Arawak communities in the Wayambo region and Apura-Section,
>which lies on the border with Guyana. An Indigenous leader from Apura
>recently stated that he welcomed bauxite mining as he believes that it will
>provide employment for community members. Leaders from Wayambo, however,
>are not pleased by the prospect of industrial mining and a hydroelectic
>scheme in their territory. The last hydroelectric scheme that Suriname
>constructed to facilitate bauxite mining operations, which caused the forced
>displacement of approximately 6000 Maroons, is still fresh in their
>memories. So to is the fact that Surinamese law does not recognize any
>guarantees for Indigenous and Maroon land rights.
>The history of bauxite mining in Suriname does not inspire confidence
>either. Large areas of Eastern Suriname now resemble a moonscape rather
>than the lush tropical environment that exists in most other parts of the
>country. One Maroon community, Adjumakondre, has been severely affected by
>bauxite mining activities and others have also suffered negative effects.
>Suralco's smelter at Paranam is notorious for its failure to control the
>environmental effects of its operations. South African owned, Biliton, and
>Suralco, a wholly owned subsidiary of US company ALCOA are presently active
>in the bauxite sector in Suriname.
>3. Berjaya Requests Concession of 150,000 hectares
>Berjaya Berhad, a Malayasian logging company, recently requested a logging
>concession of 150,000 hectares in Surianme. Berjaya, which was expelled
>from the Solomon Islands for attempting to bribe a government minister, was
>one of the companies that had applied for a concession of 1 million plus
>hectares in 1995. Berjaya has also been working through front companies,
>SAWI in particular, for at least a year with the full knowledge of
>Surianmese authorities.
>4. Triangle Mining NV
>Canadian gold mining company, Morris Mayers, and Surinamese entreprenur, Jan
>Rama, have formed a holding company called Triangle Mining NV. This company
>has been granted a 3000 hectare concession near the Maroon community of
>Boslanti, which lies on the Suriname river some 90 km south of the capital
>Paramaibo. Other Maroon communities are affected by this concession and
>neither they or Boslanti were consulted about or even informed about the
>granting of this concession. Tensions have arisen between the company and
>local communities and one community has already asked that they leave their
>territory. The mining company claims that cooperation and relations between
>itself and the communities is good and that its has promised to build a
>school and provide other social services.
>What is unique about this mining operation, in Suriname at least, is that it
>uses a mobile mining machine capable of exploiting aluvial deposits up to 30
>metres deep. The company also claims that its operations are
>environmentally friendly insofar as they use a mercury retort system to
>recover mercury that otherwise would be released into the environment,
>although they do admit that it's only 95% efficient. If sucessful in this
>pilot project, Morris Mayers, owner of the Canadian firm, says that he will
>expand into other areas of Suriname.
>5. Not Much Left to Give in Suriname
>Mr. Lip o sam of Wylap Mining NV, partner of Canadian company Canarc, stated
>on the radio recently that very little of Suriname remains for granting
>mining concessions: most is gone already! Maps detailing concessions at the
>Government's Geology and Mines Service support this conclusion. Estimates
>of the number of Indigenous and Maroon communities located either in or
>affected by mining concessions exceeds 100. These concessions, some of
>which are held by Maroon and Indigenous leaders, were granted without
>informing or consulting with the vast majority of the affected communities.
>6. Environmental Plan and Institute Contemplated
>An environmental workshop was held in Suriname, January 23-24, to discuss an
>environmental plan for Suriname and the establishment of an Environmental
>Institute. This workshop was attended by government officials, NGOs and
>intergovernmental representatives. Concrete proposals are to generated
>based upon the conclusions of this workshop, but none have been seen to
>date. This may be one of the areas for which Suriname seeks World Bank and
>IDB funding.
>7. New Indigenous Organization
>A new Indigenous organization has been created in Suriname. The Federation
>of Indigenous Organizations in Suriname (FINOS). This organization, which
>was founded by disaffected members of another Indigenous organization, has
>very close ties to the government of Suriname.
>8. Granman Pesaiphe Dies
>Granman Mamedi Pesaiphe, traditional leader of the Trio people died last
>month in hospital in Paramaribo where he underwent an operation. The
>Granman will be sorely missed by his people, who held an eight day mourning
>ceremony in Kwamasemutu, which lies near the border with Brazil. He will
>also be missed by Indigenous leaders throughout Suriname, who knew him as a
>wise man who cared about the future of his people and all Indigenous peoples
>in Suriname. The Granman's sucessor is Asongo Alaraparwe.
>Kwamalasemutu was recently in the news due to a dispute with Canadian gold
>mining company, Golden Star Resources. Community leaders claim that they
>were tricked into signing a letter of no objection to the granting of a
>mining concession on their land in November 1995 and had failed, despite
>repeated attempts, to have the concession revoked. A recent investigation by
>the Association of Indigenous Village Leaders states that the evidence
>supports the community's claim that they were tricked. They demanded that
>Golden Star be forced to leave their land and never return.
>9. The Association of Indigenous Village Leaders in Suriname writes to the
>President to Express Concerns About the Government's Commission on Land Rights
>The Association of Indigenous Village Leaders in Suriname (VIDS) recently
>wrote to the President to express concerns about the Government's Commission
>on Land Rights. This Commission takes the place of the Redan Commission,
>which was installed a number of years previously, to examine the "problem of
>land rights in the interior of Suriname." The VIDS questioned why the
>mandate of the Commission had not been made public; why its hearings to date
>have not been public and; why the VIDS had been excluded from giving
>testimony. They also said that the appropriate role of this Commission
>would be to identify international human rights standards related to land
>rights and then define, with the full and meaningful participation of
>Indigenous peoples, how these standards were to be implemented in the
>Surinamese context. The Government and its Commission have thus far
>rejected the application of interntional standards. They seem intent on
>attempting to define Indigenous and Maroon rights on the basis of individual
>titles, without any modification in existing Surinamese law. If they do so,
>Indigenous peopels and Maroons will remain without any viable and effective
>protections for their ancestral lands.
>The position of the VIDS is supported by the resolutions of the Gran Krutu
>(Great Gathering) of Indigenous peoples and Maroons held in November of
>1996. The Gran Krutu stated, with regard to the Land Rights Commission,
>that "this once again demonstrates a lack of respect for our human rights"
>and demanded that all and any future discussions relating to Indigenous and
>Maroon lands and resources must take place with the participation and
>consent of their freely chosen representatives.
>For further information please contact the Forest Peoples Programme,
>1c Fosseway Business Centre, Stratford Road, Moreton in Marsh, GL56 9NQ, UK
>Tel: 44 (0)1608 652893 Fax: 44 (0)1608 652878 Email: wrm@gn.apc.org
>Forest Peoples Programme / World Rainforest Movement (UK Office)
>1c Fosseway Business Center, Stratford Road, Moreton in Marsh, GL56 9NQ, UK
>Tel: 44 (0)i608 652893 Fax: 44 (0) 1608 652878 Email: wrm@gn.apc.org
>The World Rainforest Movement's International Secretariat is at:
>Casilla de Correo 1539, Montevideo, Uruguay
>Tel: 598 2 496192 Fax: 598 2 419222 Email: rcarrere@chasque.apc.org

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