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STATEMENT BY THE DELEGATION OF SURINAME 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Third Committee agenda item 66 Rights of Indigenous Peoples
18 October 2011 / 06:01

Mr. Chairman,
 
At the outset please allow me to congratulate you and the other members the
Bureau on your election on the Bureau of the third committee for this
66th United Nations General Assembly. I pledge the support and
cooperation from the delegation of Suriname as you successfully guide the
Committee through its work.
 
Suriname aligns itself with the statement delivered by the distinguished representative of Belize on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
 
I would like to express my delegations' appreciation to the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Professor James Anaya for the presentation of his report to the Committee today.
 
We have taken note of the many activities carried out by the Special Rapporteur during the first three-year term of his mandate. Suriname has also benefited from a dialogue with the Special Rapporteur during his visit to my country in providing advise and technical assistance to the Government of Suriname regarding legislation to secure indigenous and tribal peoples' rights to lands and resources.
 
Mr. Chairman,
 
Indigenous Peoples form 3% of the population of Suriname and are divided over 4 distinct tribes. Next to the native peoples, Suriname’s tribal and forest dependent population further consists of 6 tribes of Maroons, the descendants of Africans, who freed themselves from slavery during colonial times and established communities in the deep interior of Suriname based upon an amalgamation of African and Amerindian customs and traditions.
 
In this regard I wish to announce that we have made modest but yet significant strides in involving indigenous and tribal peoples' in high offices in Suriname. The current President as well as several Cabinet Ministers are from indigenous and tribal peoples' origin. At the local level of government appointments were made from among the indigenous peoples, and in some cases women were appointed to high positions in local government.
 
Measures are being taken to offer good quality education for children in the interior, such as the construction of new schools, training for qualified personnel to be deployed to the interior, providing incentives to teachers to take up jobs in the interior and evaluation of region-specific curricula.
 
We realize that these examples are inadequate to address the marginalization of indigenous and tribal peoples' in Suriname but the Government remains committed to take all necessary measures to ensure the involvement and full and effective participation in all matters affecting them. The Special Rapporteur rightly observes that “States should endeavour to create a climate of confidence with indigenous peoples that allows for a productive dialogue”.
   
Mr. Chairman,
We recall the adoption of resolution A/RES/65/198, by which the General Assembly decided to organize a high level plenary meeting, to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in 2014. We look forward to the convening of this World Conference which among other things will be useful in sharing experiences and best practices on the rights of indigenous peoples.
 
In closing Mr. Chairman,
 
As the Special Rapporteur embarks on the execution of the second term of his mandate, we would like to assure him of our continued support.
 
Thank you.