This case addresses indigenous peoples’ rights to their land and their struggle against encroachment by mining and logging companies carrying out activities on their territory on the basis of concessions granted by the State without consultation with the indigenous people. The Court found State committed violations of the American Convention against the members of the Saramaka people, a tribal community living in the Upper Suriname River region, by failing to adopt effective measures to recognize the Saramaka people's right to the use and enjoyment of the territory they traditionally occupied and used. The State also failed to provide the Saramaka people with the right to effective access to justice for the protection of their fundamental rights, particularly the right to own property in accordance with their communal traditions. Lastly, the State failed to adopt domestic legal provisions in order to ensure and guarantee such rights to the Saramaka people.
Case Summary: Saramaka People v. Suriname, Case Summary