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A two day conference was held in Paramaribo today to mark the start of a judicial process towards anchoring tribal rights into the Constitution of Suriname. The government of Suriname, who initiated the event, hopes to implement the changes into the Constitution five years from now.
Tribal rights have been on Suriname’s national agenda for a number of years now, but the discussion has long been hampered by political disagreement between Amerindians, Maroons, the government and non-tribal residents of the country.
Maroon and Amerindian participants at the conference have declared the desire that the government should launch a nation wide awareness campaign that educates the Suriname public on the ins and outs of tribal rights. As of now, so the participants argue – and the Surinamese government agrees – ignorance on the subject prevails among non-tribal citizens. This, in turn, hinders the development of a broad social basis in favor of the new Constitution.