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8 Mar 2016

Chris Esdaile, Leigh Day

Suriname: Inter-American Court of Human Rights says state failed to comply with UN Guiding Principles in decision over indigenous peoples’ rights

“Whilst we wait for a binding treaty, Court endorses UN Guiding Principles”, 7 Mar 2016

…On 28.1.16 the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) published its judgment in the Case of the Kaliña and Lokono Peoples v Suriname in November last year… in which it found that the state (Suriname) “failed to comply” with the Guiding Principles’ “safeguard” that “businesses must respect the human rights of members of specific groups or populations, including indigenous or tribal peoples, and pay special attention when such rights are violated.”...The case involved the alleged violations of rights of various communities of two indigenous groups living in Suriname…The communities claimed to have been adversely affected by the granting of concessions and licences to carry out mining operations, and by the presence of nature reserves in parts of their ancestral territory, neither of which had been subject to any consultation procedure aimed at obtaining the communities’ consent…It was alleged that the activities had restricted access to land, caused damage to the environment, and impacted on the communities’ ability to hunt and fish…The IACHR quoted the UNGPs which state: The initial step in conducting human rights due diligence is to identify and assess the nature of the actual and potential adverse human rights impacts with which a business enterprise may be involved…