Case of Saramaka People v. Suriname (Ser. C No. 172)

Submitted by Kelly Russo on Thu, 11/29/2007 - 00:00
Regional Decisions
Inter-American Court

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights held that Suriname violated Article 21 of the American Convention on Human Rights by granting logging and mining concessions on tribal land without consulting or benefitting the Saramaka People, or conducting social or environmental assessments. Additionally, the Court found that the State violated Articles 3 and 25 of the Convention by refusing to recognize a juridical personality in the tribal group, leaving it unable to challenge violations in court and therefore unable to obtain an effective domestic remedy. Articles 3, 21, and 25 of the American Convention on Human Rights recognize the right of American peoples to a juridical personality, to retain property, and to obtain judicial protection, respectively. The Court ordered the State of Suriname to delimit, demarcate, and grant collective title of the territory to the Saramaka People, grant the tribe juridical personality, adopt the necessary legislative measures to ensure the tribe consultative rights with regards to development projects on their territory, and fully compensate the tribe for material and non-material damages incurred.