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The Suriname government has announced a national conference on the territorial rights of Maroons and Amerindians to be held in June of this year. The conference is to follow up on the government’s promise to formalize territorial rights of Maroons and Amerindians, in accordance to the 2005 verdict of the International Court for Human Rights.
The agenda will also include discussions on a new concession the Surinamese government intends to issue to American multinational Newmont. This company is preparing to exploit gold mines in the Nassau mountain area.
Reports in local Surinamese media indicate that the Surinamese government is most likely to agree to the concession, despite objections by other stakeholders. Negotiations with Newmont are said to commence in March 2011.
Maroon authorities have already stated a formal disapproval of the upcoming deal. They are expected to repeat their concerns during the June summit. The authorities have critiqued the government’s decision to start negotiations with Newmont prior to formalizing indigenous land rights.
The upcoming conference on territorial rights was announced today by Suriname’s president Desi Bouterse. He made the statement during this weekend’s national meeting on the rearrangement of the gold sector in Suriname. Priority topic was the creation of an industrial master plan, which is to include new rules and regulations, such as strict measures against illegal mining.