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PARAMARIBO—The Dutch Government has given a lukewarm reaction to the petition for compensation the Surinamese Committee Reparations Slavery Past deposited at the Dutch embassy in Paramaribo. Committee chairman Armand Zunder said the letter he received says little. “It was a diplomatic signal. It is just a confirmation of receipt of our petition and then a referral to the speech Social Affairs Minister Lodewijk Asscher gave at the slavery abolition anniversary celebrations on July 1st in the Oosterpark in Amsterdam,” Zunder told journalists. Asscher had then said that people today cannot be held responsible for what their forefathers did, and that the Dutch Government views the “stain of shame on its history with deep regret”.
Zunder had filed the first ever petition to The Netherlands for reparations to the descendants of slaves and natives in June. In its petition the Committee requests that The Netherlands acknowledges that people suffered. Zunder, an economist, has published research results that showed that the Netherlands earned some 125 billion euros from Suriname during slavery times. Since depositing the petition, he was appointed by President Bouterse to lead the National Committee that steers the issue of reparations locally and represents Suriname in the Caricom Reparation Committee that seeks reparations from all former colonizers of Caribbean nations.
PARAMARIBO–A colorful venue was welcoming visitors at the craft fair called “Creativity does not know limitations”.
The fair, organized by the Bureau Special Education, had many teachers and pupils eagerly assisting guests at their booth. A wide range of crafts, ranging from objects made from banana paper, to unique articles made out of plastic bottles, were displayed. Visual art coordinator Will Pigot-Pinas was all over the place to make sure that everything went orderly that first day of the fair. “The last craft fair was held in 2010 and we would really like to have such a fair every two years. The pupils are encouraged to make articles themselves so it will give them enough time to be ready”. Read more »
Hamburg / Paramaribo – German natural gas and crude oil exploration/ production company RWE Dea, on Wednesday announced that it has signed a farm-in agreement with PETRONAS Suriname E&P BV (“PETRONAS Suriname”), acquiring a 40% interest in the license Block 52 off the coast of Suriname. RWE Dea said it the move “will secure entry into Suriname’s proven hydrocarbon potential.”
RWE Dea joins several other international companies that have shown interest in the oil fields off Suriname’s coast in recent years, after a 2011 discovery off the coast of French Guiana was described as “game changer” for the region’s oil prospects. Earlier Texan oil company Apache and Californian Chevron joined the offshore oil hunt. Last month Staatsolie signed with Malaysian national oil company Petronas, for the production sharing contract that RWE Dea now has shares in.
Under the farm-in agreement which is subject to completion, RWE Dea will acquire a 40% stake in the license for Block 52. The license area covers 4,743 square kilometers and is located in the Guyana-Suriname Basin, some 120 kilometers off the northeast coast of South America in water depths ranging from 100 to 1,000 meters. PETRONAS Suriname is the operator of this prospective exploration area with high-impact potential in Upper Cretaceous strata. The planned work programme for Block 52 comprises a 3D seismic survey and the drilling of one exploration well in the next three years.
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.