Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Indigenous Peoples of Suriname Speak Out on UN Declaration

Paramaribo, 10 August 2007

To: the President of the Republic of Suriname
Drs R.R. Venetiaan
Paramaribo - Suriname

Esteemed President,

By means of this letter, the Organization of Indigenous People in Suriname (OIS) requests your attention for the following:

The day of August 9 is declared by the government to be “National Day of Indigenous People” and is at the same time declared a national holiday.

Assigning this day to the original inhabitants of Suriname – known to you all as Indigenous, called Indians before – was applauded very much by us, as an organization that attends to the interests of this group.

We have experienced this gesture towards the Indigenous community as a very positive one and have seen this in the light of recognition of our people within the Surinamese population.

But, to our big surprise we have learned only a few days after the proclamation of this day, both in the national media and also from our international contacts, that the state of Suriname has voted against acceptance of the “Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” during the consultation round at the United Nations.

Because of this act of the state of Suriname, which works against the rights of the Indigenous Peoples all over the world but especially against the rights of the Indigenous People in Suriname, we as representatives of the Indigenous People in Suriname must conclude that we, Indigenous People, still will have a very long way to go in order to go get recognition of the rights and titles to our lands, etc.

The OIS sees this act of the state of Suriname as a failure to appreciate the position of the Indigenous People, because the state of Suriname being also the only country in the western hemisphere that still has not ratified ILO Convention 169.

On behalf of the Indigenous People of Suriname and also on behalf of our Indigenous brothers and sisters everywhere else in the world, we want to call on you as President to take case that Suriname will vote in favor of the “Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” during the vote on September 3 in the United Nations.

Since you have expressed in your speech in Palm Garden on the 9th of August 2007, that you really recognize the Indigenous People, we as Indigenous People would really appreciate if you would convert your words in this respect into deeds.

The Organization of Indigenous People in Suriname,
Leon Ericson Wijngaarde

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Joint GOIP/APA Press Release


As Guyana and the rest of the world commemorate another International Day of Indigenous Peoples on August 9, 2007, the Guyanese Organization of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP) and the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) are calling on the Government of Guyana to vote for the approval of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Declaration) when it again comes before the UN General Assembly next month.

We are extremely disappointed to learn that Guyana has joined with six other states namely Aotearoa/New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Colombia, Russia and Surinam in asking for the Declaration which represents over two decades of expert and rigorous effort involving states and indigenous peoples to be redrafted. This represents a most retrograde step on the part of Guyana and those states which have taken this position. We are dismayed that Guyana has aligned itself with this small group of states which are proposing that one-sided changes are made to a vital document that constitutes the minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of indigenous peoples.

We gravely concerned about this development taking into consideration that GOIP had written to His Excellency President Jagdeo on February 7, 2007, requesting that Guyana endorse the Declaration. In a response dated June 14, 2007, the Honourable Minister of Amerindian Affairs stated that the Government of Guyana “is fully supportive of a process that would result in a Declaration that is unambiguous, preserves national unity and ultimately improve the lot of the world’s indigenous peoples.”

GOIP and APA are convinced that the Declaration which was adopted by the Human Rights Council of the UN in June 2006 represents the most important international instrument for the promotion and protection of human rights for indigenous peoples which fits the criteria that the Government says it is supportive of. We are therefore dismayed that the Government has suddenly taken this extreme position.

The GOIP and APA hereby urge the Government to reconsider its position and support the adoption of the Declaration in its present form.

GOIP Executive Committee,
APA Executive Committee,
7th August, 2007

Friday, August 10, 2007

Radio Interview with UCTP President and Chairman: 08.12.2007

Radio Interview with UCTP President and Chairman: 08.12.2007 : This Sunday, August 12th, 2007, UCTP President and Chairman, Roberto Mucaro Borrero will be interviewed on "Janet's House World Radio Show",which airs on WURD 900am in Philadelphia, PA from 3:05p.m. – 4:00p.m (EST) with host El Shafiyq.The radio program is streamed online and anyone with a computer can listen at as well as call in to the show's 800# at 1-866-361-0900.You can visit the Janet's House World Radio Show website at .