REPORT No. 79/13
CASE 12.639
MERITS
THE KALIÑA AND LOKONO PEOPLES
SURINAME
July 18, 2013
I.

SUMMARY

This report concerns the merits of a petition received by the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights (“IACHR” or “Inter-American Commission”) on February 16, 2007,
filed on behalf of the Kaliña and Lokono Indigenous Peoples of the Lower Marowijne River
(hereinafter referred to as “the alleged victims” or “the Kaliña and Lokono Peoples”1 or “the Lower
Marowijne Peoples”) against the Republic of Suriname (“Suriname” or “the State”). The petition was
jointly filed by the following petitioners: a) The village leaders of each of the eight Kaliña and
Lokono villages of the Lower Marowijne River: Richard Pané of the village of Christiaankondre,
Ramses Kajoeramari of the village of Langamankondre, Henry Zaalman of the village of Wan Shi
Sha, Romeo Pierre of the village of Pierrekondre, Harold Galgren of the village of Alfonsdorp, Leo
Maipio of the village of Bigiston, Jona Gunther of the village of Erowarte, and Frans Pierre of the
village of Tapuku; b) The Vererniging van Inheese Dorpshoofden in Suriname (Association of
Indigenous Village Leaders in Suriname), an association of indigenous leaders from the 46
indigenous villages in Suriname; and c) The Commissie Landrechten Inheemsen Beneden-Marowijne
(Lower Marowijne Indigenous Land Rights Commission). Petitioners’ counsels are Fergus MacKay,
David Padilla (co-counsel) and Jacqueline Jubithana (co-counsel).
1.

2.
The petition alleges that the State of Suriname has violated the rights protected in
Articles 3 (right to judicial personality), 21 (right to property) and 25 (right to judicial protection)
of the American Convention on Human Rights (“American Convention”) in connection with Articles
1 and 2 thereof to the prejudice of the Kaliña and Lokono Peoples. The petitioners claim that the
alleged victims have inhabited their territories in the lower Marowijne River, in northeastern
Suriname, for thousands of years, and that they have ancestral rights over their lands, territories
and natural resources under international law. They argue that Suriname has violated their
protected rights primarily by (i) failing to recognize their judicial personality in its domestic laws;
(ii) issuing individual land titles to non-indigenous persons over their traditional lands; (iii)
granting mining concessions and permits in the Lower Marowijne territories; (iv) establishing three
Nature Reserves in their territories; and (v) failing to provide adequate and effective judicial
protection to seek redress for the violations of their human rights.
3.
Suriname responds that it has not violated the alleged victims’ human rights and
that the petitioners are not entitled to any of the relief they seek. It argues that the Lower
Marowijne Peoples are not a homogenous group of people, that their relationship with the lands
1

In some of the documents filed in this case, the Kaliña people are occasionally referred to as Carib, and the Lokono
as Arawak. See, e.g., Petition Submitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights by Eight Indigenous Village
leaders on behalf of the Kaliña and Lokono Indigenous Peoples of the Lower Marowijne River and the Members thereof, the
Lower Marowijne Indigenous Land Rights Commission, and the Association of Indigenous village Leaders in Suriname
(Suriname), received by the IACHR on February 16, 2007 (hereinafter “Petition”), Annex E, The historical use and occupation by
Indigenous Peoples and communities of the Lower Marowijne River region of Suriname, p. 1; Submission of Suriname, March
22, 2008, p. 2, n. 2. For ease of reference and for reasons of self-identification, this Report refers to them as Kaliña and Lokono.

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