EU decides against sanctions on Suriname over Amnesty Act

(De Ware Tijd) THE HAGUE – Legislators Thijs Berman of the European Parliament (EP) and Kathleen Ferrier of the Dutch Lower House are disappointed over the European Union’s (EU) decision not to impose sanctions on Suriname for adopting the Amnesty Act. “Suriname must be pressured”, Berman tells dWT. During a meeting of the EU’s Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Luxemburg, it was decided not to impose sanctions on Suriname because of the controversial Amnesty Act in spite of a Dutch lobby.

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton mentioned the EU’s permanent involvement with Suriname, but sanctions were not imposed. The Netherlands expressed its concern about Suriname during the meeting. The country claims Suriname’s Amnesty Act goes against international obligations to investigate and prosecute human rights violations. Ferrier and Berman told de Ware Tijd in separate interviews that they will hold deliberations within their fractions about the EU’s decision.

Together with fellow legislator Han Ten Broeke (VVD), Ferrier had called for an EU-wide travel ban for the suspects, in line with the Dutch government’s sanctions. They do not want to get ahead of things, but are awaiting the deliberations. “Aside from sanctions, other responses are possible,” Berman adds. He also believes the EU should engage in a “very harsh dialogue” with Suriname’s government, and adds he understands why Ashton wants a constructive relation with Suriname. “But I think that in the long term, this constructive relation is better served by a healthy constitutional state of Suriname.” Ferrier is curious as to whether the EU will issue a statement expressing support for the three judges of the court-martial. She says she is monitoring developments in Suriname closely.


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