2000

2005

progress

Government (ministers)

15%

16.7%

+ 1.7%

Parliament

17.6%

25%

+ 7.4%

District council

18%

24.5%

+ 6.5%

Resort council

24.7%

30.6%

+ 5.9%

Average

18.8%

24.2%

+ 4.3%

Source: Research by H. Guicherit for Women’s Parliament Forum

Some of the female parliament members are from the rural areas. At this moment the Cabinet of Ministers has three female Ministers. One of these female ministers was nominated by a rural political party.

The measures taken by the Government also extend to indigenous people and other racial minority women.

Violence against women

7. The report refers to an assessment of four conventions that was published by the Ministry of Home Affairs and recommendations that were made in respect of violence against women “namely the Government should be involved more intensively with the problem of violence through regular public awareness activities, targeting young women and girls, and by setting up a database on domestic violence, so as to make an inventory of the phenomenon together with the actors concerned, and make it possible to develop a proper approach”. Please provide information on the implementation of those recommendations.

The Women’s Rights Centre, in cooperation with the Suriname Police Force, Police Force Utrecht and the Caribbean Gender Equality Program has set up victims helpdesks at four police stations across the country: one in Paramaribo, two in Wanica and one in Nickerie, especially for women and children. These helpdesks are already operational in order to provide victims the necessary attention.

A training program to create awareness on domestic violence was presented by the Women’s Rights Centre.

The Ministry of Justice and Police made an analysis regarding domestic violence and formulated a policy which is already being implemented. Two important projects will be implemented: a special unit for the protection of women and a nation wide hotline. The police also trained their personnel in counseling of victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.

Data base system

The Suriname Police Force has already set up a data surveillance system. Sex, age, relationship victim/assailant, residential area and ethnicity are all taken into account. The information is sent periodically to the Chief of police.

The KPS participates in the National Network on Domestic Violence in which the government and non-governmental organizations, dealing with domestic violence, such as aid workers, investigation officers, health care, and shelter are represented.

There is also collaboration with the Foundation Stop Violence against Women through the exchange of information, assistance and awareness activities.

About 30 per cent of the police officers are trained to recognize domestic violence and the necessity for an effective approach. All employees of the Youth Department of the police force and other operational services, at least one employee per precinct, received a training aimed at effective investigation of domestic violence. A training module, approach of domestic violence, is offered to the KPS and should be incorporated into the training curriculum of the police force. There are at least 8 trainers among police officers available. As part of the collaboration with the Dutch Police Force the Surinamese police officers were given an opportunity for an exchange visit to the Netherlands.

At least 112 assistant counselors in domestic violence were trained in 4 districts by the Foundation Stop Violence against Women in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs.

In the Integral Gender Action Plan 2006-2010 one of the actions under the theme “Domestic and sexual violence” is to increase public awareness by systematic publication of data and activities on domestic violence. In the policy plan of the Ministry of Justice and Police the theme of youth and morality and domestic violence is included. More specifically the following mechanisms are incorporated:

Steering group “Domestic violence” including an administrative project manager (Bureau for Women and Children);

Subproject Platform and Support “Domestic Violence”;

Registration desk “Domestic Violence”;

Action plan “Domestic Violence”;

The Social Registration/allowance;

Registration desk for victims.

8. In its 2002 concluding comments, the Committee urged the State party to place high priority on measures to address violence against women in the family and in society in accordance with the Committee’s general recommendation 19 and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women. Please provide information on the steps taken to implement the Committee’s recommendation and please inform the Committee if the unique conditions that predispose rural, indigenous and other minority women to high levels of violence have been included in the Government’s initiative.

Measures to prevent violence against women in the family and society

As most measures on violence against women are mentioned and prohibited in our Penal Code the Ministry of Justice and Police focuses on the institutional framework to address violence against women. The high priorities are action against domestic violence and measures against the trafficking of women and children.

In 2003 the Committee on Trafficking in Persons was established by the Ministry of Justice and Police with the task to formulate legislative measures, guidelines and procedures for police and other institutions. There is a prosecutor specialized in domestic violence cases and there is a proposal regarding the policy and measures in cases of domestic violence.

Furthermore the Ministry of Justice and Police established a Committee on sexual intimidation at work. The complaints office seriously examines all complaints and takes adequate measures to protect victims and punish perpetrators within the scope of the Personnel Act. The commitment of the Ministry to promote the protection of women and active intervention against any violation is the basic policy.

The government is also participating and facilitating the National Network in order to combat domestic violence.

9. Has the law on domestic violence been finalized? If so, please provide details about its contents.

There are two draft laws on Domestic Violence. One is integrated in the amendment of the Penal Code and the other is a Draft Law on Domestic Violence, which was prepared by the Women’s Rights Center. These drafts have been presented to the Ministry of Justice and Police.

Trafficking and exploitation of prostitution

10. The report states that a special committee will be formed to look into trafficking of people in general and that “this committee will recommend policy measures and legislative measures, as well as guidelines, procedures for police and institutions”.Has the committee been formed and, if not, when will it be formed and when is it expected to begin its work? How will the Government ensure that rural and minority women have a say in the committee?

The “Working group Trafficking in Persons” was established in 2003 and commenced to work out a Plan of Action comprising of measures which have to be implemented at operational and governmental level. The working group is chaired by a woman who is a public prosecutor at the office of the Prosecutor General. She has already successfully prosecuted a case of trafficking in persons. Currently, two cases of trafficking in persons are pending in court, while another case is before the office of the Magistrate’s Court. The working is implementing an information and awareness campaign on trafficking in persons. In this regard, posters and brochures were distributed. The police force has a special unit for investigating trafficking in persons. This unit has several telephone numbers where persons can provide important information on trafficking in persons. Recently a new law on countering trafficking in persons came into force. Furthermore the working group collaborates with the Foundation Maxi Linder in the area of counseling victims and providing shelter for them.

11. In its 2002 concluding comments, the Committee recommended the development of programmes of action for women forced into prostitution by poverty and the introduction of policies to ensure the prosecution of, and stronger penalties for, those who exploit prostitutes and of adults involved in the exploitation of child prostitutes. The Committee also recommended that the state party provide in its next report comprehensive information on prostitution and on trafficking of women and girls to allow the Committee to better understand the extent of the problem in Suriname. Please provide information on the steps taken to implement the Committee’s recommendation and respond to its request.

Prostitution exists in Suriname. Although the exploitation of brothels is illegal in Suriname according to the penal code, a tolerance policy is used by the government regarding brothels. Irrespective of being a minor or an adult, in cases where women are being forced into prostitution, action is taken as soon as it is brought to the attention of the police. In this situation the testimony of the victim is essential. Cases where the victims were willing to cooperate with justice are now in court, while one case is at the office of the Magistrate’s Court. Suriname had its first conviction on trafficking in 1996 and the second in 2005. It is expected that this year the judge will give a verdict in pending cases.

Stereotypes and education

12. The report refers to the Lobi Foundation, which “plays an important role in education programmes”, including in respect of family planning information and sex education. The report states that “these activities are still in contravention of articles 533 and 534 of the Penal Code, which have not yet been amended”. In its 2002 concluding comments, the Committee recommended that the laws restricting family planning activities be repealed. When is it anticipated that this will be done?

Amending this law or the law restricting family planning is programmed in the Health Sector Plan 2005-2009.

13. In its 2002 concluding comments, the Committee urged the state party to adopt the necessary legal or administrative measures to prohibit schools from barring young mothers and pregnant teenagers. Please provide information on the steps taken to implement the Committee’s recommendation. Please extend the scope of this information to rural and racial minority women.

All teenage mothers have the possibility to return to school. The department of Youth Affairs of the Ministry of Education has the duty to register those who want to attend school. They further guide them with homework, how to handle their finances, how to take care of their children and give them courses in computer, sewing and other skills the young mother would like to learn to make them independent.

The inspection division of the Ministry of Education is responsible to find a school for these young mothers.

14. Please provide information on the status of the assessment of school curricula and whether fees are required from students for public education.

There is a national curriculum for all primary schools. All primary schools have the same schoolbooks and at the end of grade six there is a national exam for entering the secondary school.

Secondary and High schools do not have a national curriculum but they have a fixed program for all streams. There are national final exams at all levels.

Although education is free in Suriname small enrollment fees are required annually.

15. In its 2002 concluding comments, the Committee called upon the State party to take urgent measures aimed at changing stereotypical attitudes about the roles and responsibilities of women and men, including through awareness-raising and educational campaigns directed at both women and men and at the media. Please indicate what follow-up action was taken pursuant to that recommendation.

According to the law both men and women are allowed to do all kind of jobs.

In the Integrated Gender Action Plan 2006-2010 programmes are mentioned to create more awareness for students about job opportunities (girls and boys).

Employment

16. Please provide updated data on the unemployment rates of women and men, and please include such data on women and men who live in the interior and in indigenous communities.

Updated data unemployment rates women and men

In general, there are two competent authorities who collect and analyze gender segregated data on unemployment of men and women, namely the General Bureau for Statistics and the Ministry of Labor, Technological Development and Environment. During the reporting period the Ministry of ATM was not able to collect and analyze data as mentioned. The Ministry of ATM has been depending heavily on data gathered by the ABS. Since the ABS has only data covering the first half of 1999, the Ministry of ATM has not produced any data going beyond the final half of 1999.

The number of unemployed persons in Paramaribo and Wanica is presented in table 1.

Data on women and men in the interior and in the indigenous communities covering the reporting period is available and included in the total data.

Table 1

Number of Economically Active, Employed and Unemployed Persons and Unemployment rate 1999-2002 (Paramaribo and Wanica)

year

Economically Active

Employed

Unemployed

Unemployment rate

1999

105.394

92747

12647

12

2000

110.600

95.374

15.226

14

2001

133.447

97.872

15.575

14

2002

116.368

105.129

11.239

10

Labor Force Participation rate by sex

Activity Status

Male

Female

Employed

101,919

54,768

Unemployed

7,708

8,717

Working Age Population

154,836

154,179

Participation Rate

70.8

41.2

Source: Census-7 of ABS 2005

17. The report states that since “women generally form part of the lower wage groups, (they) usually earn less than men”. What measures are being taken by the Government to address this?

Gender pay gap

Disparities in the field of employment between men and women are acknowledged by the Ministry of ATM and are officially mentioned in several policy declarations of the government and in the ministerial policy note (Ministry of ATM) in the last decades.

The following is stated in the policy note 2000-2005 of the Ministry of Labor, Technological Development and Environment (ATM):

“In order to create a positive remuneration environment a minimum wage will be introduced after adequate research. This should result in equal remuneration for work of equal value remuneration based on performance”.

Furthermore the Policy Note makes reference to the integration of gender concepts in every policy area of the Ministry of ATM, in order to promote gender equality on the Surinamese labor market. Every measure or activity shall include a gender analysis to assess the possible impact on men and women. With regard to unemployment and growth of small enterprises women are a target group.

The minimum wage has not been established in the period 2000-2005. The introduction of a minimum wage system has again been mentioned in the Annual Policy Statement 2006 of the President of Suriname and the Ministerial Policy Note of ATM. According to the Policy Note, the Minister of ATM established a tripartite commission to be advised on the establishment of a minimum wage system.

Health

18. The report states that “as far as access of women to medical services is concerned, the following observations are important; lack of routine screening for cancer (Pap smear, mammograms); complications of pregnancies indicate the need for improved prenatal care and a better management of high-risk pregnancies”. The report states that about one third of the population does not have medical insurance. What measures are being taken by the Government to address these problems?

Government actions:

Improving Maternal Health - Policy Developments. At the World Summit in September 2005, Suriname and the international community agreed that achieving universal access to reproductive health by 2015 is critical for the attainment of gender equality and the other Millennium Development Goals.

Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) Policy identifies Safe motherhood as a priority human right A Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy has been drafted which identifies Safe Motherhood as a priority human right. This policy requires adoption by Parliament and translation into an implementation plan, which includes quality maternal care as a main component. This policy is incorporated in the Health Sector Plan.

(c)Health Sector Plan and the Health Reform Project.

The Ministry of Health is currently examining the possibility of establishing a Logistics System for RH Commodities System, as well as implementing an MMR strategy. A National Health Information System is being designed, which will allow better identification and monitoring of health issues contributing to maternal mortality.

19. The report states that the number of HIV-positive women rose from 1998 to 2000 from 4.1 per cent to 6.35 per cent. In its 2002 concluding comments, the Committee urged the State party to address the gender aspects of HIV/AIDS and to ensure that women and girls have equal rights and access to health care and social services, and encouraged the State party to strengthen its efforts to raise awareness and educate women and girls on methods of self-protection. Please provide information on the implementation of the Committee’s recommendation and include data on the spread of HIV/AIDS among minority women in the interior owing to mining activities.

HIV/AIDS – Policy developments and National Strategic Plan

Completion of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) and the availability of two Global Fund grants have significantly enhanced the national capacity to develop a comprehensive response to HIV/AIDS. The NSP outlines the targets, strategies and activities for the period 2004-2008. Specific targets towards achievement of the MDG’s include 25 per cent reduction of new HIV infections in the age group 15-24 and 25 per cent reduction of the number of HIV+ pregnant women.

The recently completed Multi-Annual Development Plan (MOP) has integrated these targets into the national development strategy.

Measures currently being implemented towards achieving these targets include the expansion of the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) programme, and intensified prevention programmes based on the ABC strategy, which includes promotion and increased availability of condoms.

Data on the spread of HIV/AIDS amongst minority women in the interior due to mining activities will be gathered soon.

Poverty and rural women

20. The report states that poverty is highest among women, in particular single women who are heads of households. Please provide information on the impact on women, in particular rural and racial minority women, of the Multi-annual Development Plan 2001-2005.

As part of the policy on poverty eradication and increased prosperity and well-being for all citizens, in particular for women, the following will be implemented:

Increased economic and physical independence of women, who in all communities function as catalysts for development, as a basis for an effective improvement of their disadvantaged position and an increased contribution to social development. (Multi Annual Development Plan 2006-2011)

21. Please indicate how the national development plans or poverty reduction strategies that may be in place in the country, including those aimed at achieving the Millennium Development Goals, integrate a gender perspective and contribute to the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women. Please ensure that data that speak to poverty reduction in the interior and among racial and ethnic minorities are included in the response.

Gender-specific poverty eradication requires a multidimensional approach. The government commits itself to the conclusions of the Beijing Platform for Action in relation to the economic independence of women, namely that the most effective way to reduce poverty is to provide women with opportunities to acquire their own income by providing them access to facilities, resources, employment, markets and trade. In the fight against poverty, addressing all forms of violence against women and children, providing support for civil society organizations, and improving access to reproductive health facilities are high priorities.

22. The report refers to a number of problems rural women face (see, in particular pp. 49, 63, 65, 68, 69, 71 and 72 of CEDAW/C/SUR/3). In its 2002 concluding comments, the Committee urged the State party to give full attention to the needs of rural women, including older women, particularly Amerindian and maroon women, to ensure that they benefit from policies and programmes in all areas, in particular access to health, education, social services and decision-making. Please provide details on what follow up action was taken pursuant to the Committee’s recommendation.

The social welfare policy on behalf of vulnerable women

The target groups of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Housing are the vulnerable groups and socially weak in the society. These are: the elderly, children, and people with a disability, poor households among which also single vulnerable women with family responsibility. The intention of the ministry is to achieve prosperity and to promote the well-being among the socially weak in the society, in order to provide them with material and immaterial needs. A specific poverty eradication programme has not been developed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Housing. This Ministry has a social supply scheme, which includes material and immaterial supplies where both men and women can apply.

Social provisions programme:

Through the Ministry of Social Affairs and Housing, a special provisions program is in place with the main focus to support needy households to maintain a decent standard of living. The provisions include:

Healthcare cards to ensure medical care;

Financial support for needy households and people with a disability;

Child allowance;

Old age allowance;

Subsidies are provided to institutions taking care of the elderly, children and people with a disability;

Family counseling and community work;

Marriage legislation

23. In its 2002 concluding comments, the Committee expressed concern at the very low age of marriage for some communities and urged the State party to review the law on marriage in line with articles 15 and 16 of the Convention. The Human Rights Committee, in its concluding observations in 2004, also stated that the State party should take steps to change the current marriage legislation and to bring it into conformity with the Covenant. Please indicate what follow-up action was taken pursuant to those recommendations.

By resolution of June 17th, 2003 no. 4190/03, marriages can only take place in conformity with article 82 of the Civil Code. The minimum age for a man is 18 and for a woman is 15 years.

24. Please indicate any progress made towards ratification of accession to the Optional Protocol to the Convention or acceptance of the amendment to article 20, paragraph 1, of the Convention

Progress towards ratification of accession to the Optional Protocol:

With funding of United Nations Development Fund for Women, the NGO Women’s Rights Centre is executing a project Promoting CEDAW and the Optional Protocol to the CEDAW Convention to increase awareness and better understanding of the Convention and the Optional Protocol, in particular the importance of state accountability regarding gender equality and non-discrimination.

In March 2006 the WRC organized a public campaign and training on CEDAW and the Optional Protocol. A five-day inter-active training with the objective to turn participants into advocates for women’s rights in general, and for the Optional Protocol in particular was attended by a selection of participants from relevant government institutions, non-governmental organizations, the judicial sector, the university and the media. Participants are now in the process of executing their Plan of Action, which indicates important priorities on the policy level. In this regard, a weekly radio program “Genderoptiek” is aired on Radio Apintie, and in the near future articles will be published in daily newspapers and public debates will be held. WRC intends to collaborate with UNIFEM’s Advocacy Tour and complete this project with a strong lobby for signing and ratification of the Optional Protocol by the Surinamese Government.