REPORT Nº 76/07 PETITION 198-07 ADMISSIBILITY THE KALIŇA AND LOKONO PEOPLES SURINAME October 15, 2007 I. SUMMARY 1. On February 16, 2007, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (“the Commission” or “the IACHR”) received a petition lodged on behalf of the Kaliňa and Lokono Indigenous Peoples of the Lower Marowijne River (hereinafter referred to as “the alleged victims” or “the Kaliňa and Lokono Peoples” 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 Kaliňa and Lokono communities/villages of the Lower Marowijne River: Richard Pané (Kaliňa) of the village of Christiaankondre, Ramses Kajoeramari (Kaliňa) of the village of Langamankondre, Henry Zaalman (Lokono) of the village of Wan Shi Sha, Romeo Pierre (Kaliňa) of the village of Pierrekondre, Harold Galgren (Lokono) of the village of Alfonsdorp, Leo Maipio (Kaliňa) of the village of Bigiston, Jona Gunther (Kaliňa) of the village of Erowarte, and Frans Pierre (Kaliňa) of the village of Tapuku. b) The Vererniging van Inheese Dorpshoofden in Suriname (in English, the Association of Indigenous Village Leaders in Suriname), an association of indigenous leaders from each of the 46 indigenous villages in Suriname. c) The Commissie Landrechten Inheemsen Beneden-Marowijne (in English, The Lower Marowijne Indigenous Land Rights Commission), which is described as the “working arm”1 of the Association of Indigenous Village Leaders in Suriname. 2. The Petitioners are represented by Fergus MacKay (counsel), David Padilla (co-counsel) and Jacqueline Jubithana (co-counsel). 3. According to the Petitioners, the Kaliňa and Lokono Peoples have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied their traditional lands, territory, and resources for thousands of years. The Petitioners maintain that their ownership rights arise from their customary laws and tenure, which vest paramount title collectively in the Kaliňa and Lokono Peoples and subsidiary rights in extended kinship groups associated with the eight villages each of which hold rights over defined areas of the overall territory. The Petitioners further state that the territory of the Kaliňa and Lokono Peoples provides the basis for the vast majority of their subsistence and other material and non-material needs and values. 4. The Petitioners complain that the indigenous property rights of the Lower Marowijne Peoples are neither recognized nor respected in the laws of Suriname, in violation of the American Convention on Human Rights (“the Convention”) Suriname’s laws (a) vest ownership of all untitled lands and all natural resources in the State; (b) fail to provide adequate and effective judicial or other remedies to protect the indigenous property rights of the Lower Marowijne Peoples; (c) do not recognize the juridical personality of the alleged victims for the purpose of holding title or for exercising or seeking protection for their communal rights. More specifically, the Petitioners contend that the State has violated Articles 3, 21 and 25 (in conjunction with Articles 1 and 2) of the Convention by: a) issuing approximately 20 land titles between 1976 and 2006 to non-indigenous persons over lands in four of the villages of the Lower Marowijne Peoples (Erowarte, Tapuku, Pierrekondre, and Wan Shi Sha); 1 See Petitioners’ petition, page 3. 1

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