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WASHINGTON, D.C.–The Peace Corps has announced phasing out of its program in Suriname after an 18-year partnership. The agency office will officially close at the end of July 2013, the organization stated on its Website Last Thursday.
“Since 1995, Peace Corps volunteers and staff in Suriname have worked closely with community partners and government institutions to make a difference and ensure project sustainability,” said Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet. “The Peace Corps is leaving a strong legacy that will live on long after the Suriname post closes.”
Nearly 450 health and community economic development volunteers have served in more than 100 villages, towns and cities in Suriname. In accordance with Suriname’s national priorities for development, the Peace Corps program has focused on supporting underserved communities, particularly small towns and remote villages with predominantly minority populations. In commemoration of the program, Read more »
PARAMARIBO–On April 13 and 14, the ‘2nd International Sloth Meeting’ took place at resort Berg en Dal resort. Green Heritage Fund Suriname (GHFS), who organizes this meeting, is expecting various knowledgeable researchers and speakers from South-America and other countries.
From Brasil, Flavia Miranda, a veterinarian and researcher of silky anteaters and Nadia Morraes Barros, researcher at the university in Portugal spoke at the meeting. Nadia is involved in genetic research of sloths. Jewell Liddel, lecturer at the University of Guyana, was also present.
GHFS is a trust fund and non-profit organization that was set up in Suriname in October 2005. The trust fund was established to fund activities that help promote the green image and cultural heritage of Suriname. Currently the GHFS runs a Xenarthra (i.e. sloth, armadillo, and anteater) rehabilitation program.
WASHINGTON– The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights undertook a working visit to the Republic of Suriname between January 23-25, 2013 in order to examine the situation of the rights of women and indigenous peoples in that country. The delegation was composed of Commissioner Dinah Shelton, Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Commissioner Tracy Robinson, First Vice-President and Rapporteur on the Rights of Women; and staff from the Executive Secretariat.
During the visit, the delegation held meetings with the highest authorities of the Suriname state, and representatives from civil society organizations dedicated to the defense of the rights of indigenous peoples, women and LGBTI persons in the country. Several members of the delegation also traveled to the district of Brokopondo and the village of Brownsweg to visit a Maroon village composed of 8,000 persons. The delegation taught a workshop attended by approximately fifty government officials on the Inter-American System of Human Rights and an academic event at the Anton de Kom University, with the participation of law professors and students. The Commission expresses its gratitude to the government of Suriname for the invitation to conduct this visit, and in particular thanks the authorities and the Surinamese people for the support and hospitality they showed to the delegation. The Inter-American Commission also greatly appreciates and values the information provided by the government, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders.
The Rapporteurs present some initial observations below based on the information gathered during the visit.
State Policies to Address Human Rights Issues
The Rapporteurs appreciate the efforts by the State of Suriname to incorporate the principles of equality and non-discrimination in its constitution and public policies. This formal step is paramount in a multilingual society composed of diverse ethnic, racial, and religious groups, in the process of strengthening its political institutions after its independence. The Rapporteurs recognize the government notion of a social contract with its population, focusing on improving access to education, health, and employment in rural communities.
AMSTERDAM–Suriprofs, the annual benefit match amongst Dutch football professionals of Surinamese descent is not taking place this year, much to the regret of loyal fans and organizations in Suriname that were always considered when the proceeds were divided. The match is being postponed because apparently the players are finding it difficult to fit it into their schedules. Suriprof foundation chairman Stanley Menzo, a retired Ajax player and former goalie for the Dutch national team, told Dutch media earlier this week that the “signals were too evident and too many to ignore.”
Dutch professional football has since the mid eighties been colored up with the talents of quite a few players who had Surinamese roots, and Surinamese players still continue to dominate the game. Suriprofs started in 1999 as a foundation that would enable these top earners a platform to give back to their country.
From the year 2000 onward, the match has been held every May, always in a different city, with sponsors like Suriname’s national phone company Telesur. Top players like Edgar Davids and Clarence Seedorf always took part. The games always attracted massive crowds, predominantly Surinamers in the Netherlands.
Proceeds go to projects in Suriname; last year the foundation donated 85,000 euros for the refurbishing of the sports facilities of two residential areas. “Suriprofs considers the children in Suriname and projects we support all have a sustainable character,” Menzo says on the foundation website. He regretted the postponement of this year’s match: “It’s with pain in our hearts that we postpone this year’s hosting with one year.”
“Really a pity,” football enthusiast Harvey Baarn commented. A former Holland resident of Surinamese descent, Baarn is now actively involved in the development of street soccer in Suriname, with the help of many professional players. “Suriprofs has always been a good event, a great moment for people of Surinamese descent to get together in Holland. The game and the community are the poorer without it now,” he said.
By Dr. Cory Couillard
Adopting a vegetarian type diet can have a dramatic effect on one’s heart and overall health, new research suggests. The UK based study that included nearly 45 000 people found vegetarians had a 32 percent less chance of dying or needing hospital treatment as a result of heart disease. Researchers at the University of Oxford analyzed data from over a course of 11 years. 169 people died of heart disease and 1,066 needed hospital treatment from the group of 15 100 vegetarians and 29 400 meat-eaters.
The key life-saving effects were thought to be associated with lower cholesterol, blood pressure and body weight. The purpose of the study was not to promote vegetarianism but show the powerful impact that diet has on one’s health. Heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are major preventable diseases that claim more than 17.3 million lives per year according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The study revealed that the foods that are frequently consumed in vegetarian diets (fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes) can reduce a person’s risk for diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, and control body mass index and waist size as well. Other lifestyle interventions that are known to combat CVDs include improved physical activity levels and the cessation of tobacco and alcohol.
PARAMARIBO–Surinamese officials have reacted with some disdain to an inflammatory story in leading Dutch newspaper Volkskrant, that alleged that corruption wreaks havoc on the proceeds from Suriname’s gold sector.
The story, written by investigative journalist and “Suriname watcher” Jeroen Trommelen, appeared on February 4th and suggested that hundreds of millions in royalties gold multinational Iamgold transferred from 2004 to 2011 to Suriname’s Government, never got deposited into the country’s coffers. The story says this is evident from a “Volkskrant analysis”, but all it did was make officials in Suriname question the Dutch newspaper’s methods. “How dare a Dutch journalist bring Suriname in discredit in this manner? This is ridiculous. He should have done better investigative work, and then he would have found out that all royalties are properly recorded at the Central Bank,” said Sergio Akiemboto who runs national mining company Grassalco.
The gold mining industry in Suriname has taken flight in recent years, producing more than US$ 1 billion in gold annually. The Dutch newspaper said its research showed that Iamgold transferred nearly US$ 500 million to Suriname over the years. The only foreign gold miner, the Canada headquartered company since 2006 owns a 90 percent stake in the profitable Gros Rosebel mine in District Brokopondo, the southern part of the country.
PARAMARIBO–The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has expressed its concern about the ongoing delays in the trial against President Desiré Delano Bouterse and 24 others accused of the murder of 15 citizens. In a press release issued on Wednesday, the ICJ expressed its dissatisfaction with the continued uncertainty on the applicability of an Amnesty Law that could threaten the status of the trial.
Last December 8 2012 it was 30 years that 15 prominent citizens – journalists, lawyers, professors, businessmen, soldiers and labor union leaders- were murdered at the historic Fort Zeelandia. They were political opponents of Bouterse’s –who was then the military leader of the country- and he is accused of having been present on 8 December 1982 at the military barracks of Fort Zeelandia, where the killings took place. The murders were never properly investigated but in November 2007, the trial against the President and fellow suspects began.
The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the IDB Group, will work with Surinamese public foundation Fonds Ontwikkeling Binnenland (FOB) to create job opportunities in communities in the country’s interior through the establishment of microfranchised authorized service workshops for engine maintenance in three districts. The microfranchise methodology is based on the idea of replicating an existing successful business that provides potential microfranchisees (usually low-income microentrepreneurs) with the tools and support they need to run a profitable business, removing risks associated with starting up a business.
The project will benefit 150 mechanics (both men and women), who will operate the authorized service workshops. Additionally, about 15,000 people from 30 communities in the interior of Suriname will also benefit since they will have access to reliable services for the maintenance of their engines.
The lack of job opportunities is the biggest development challenge in the interior of the country. The high unemployment rate, over 50%, is a direct result of the few existing possibilities for communities in that part of Suriname, where Maroons and indigenous people make up the majority of the population. In addition, given the geographical configuration of the country, interior communities are very dependent on the use of small engines for daily transportation, energy and water distribution. Read more »
By Dr. Cory Couillard
A new study with 431,479 study participants has reinforced that an individual having relatively no weight troubles can be at risk of developing the same conditions as an obese individual without the proper amount of exercise. Researchers call the study a wake-up call for couch potatoes of all sizes. Researchers found that 30 minutes of exercise can add an average of 3.5 extra ‘good’ years to one’s life. Higher intensity exercise was found to boast even greater results – an additional 4.2 years.
There is a stigma that overweight people are always sick and skinny people are generally healthy. The research highlights that one’s weight and body type do not always matter. Choosing a healthy lifestyle and implementing proactive, preventative techniques like diet and exercise work for people of all waist sizes.
Obesity, BMI and longevity
Obesity is infamous for causing diabetes and heart disease. BMI is a ratio of an individual’s height to weight. A similar study has found waist size to be more useful than BMI in predicting the risk factors of disease. This system’s effectiveness has been under question as it fails to distinguish between physical fitness, muscle mass and the amount of body fat. It should be no surprise that exercise is good for you and will help you live longer but sadly the number of inactive people are growing.
PARAMARIBO–Club Neutraal is “satisfied” with the success of its derby of last Sunday December 16th . The “largest horseback riding event of 2012” was held at Nancy’s Horse Track at Jessurunweg, near the Kameelbrug. No less than 23 racehorses took part, in five categories: A, B and C for advanced riders, D for starters and Open, for anyone with a racehorse.
“It was a well-attended event at which horseback riding enthusiasts enjoyed the beautiful steeds and exciting races. In each class, there were neck-and-neck races, because the horses all gave each other a run for the prizes. The winners returned home with trophies and prize money,” the organization wrote in a release issued over the weekend.