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Suriname

Suriname

Summary

A former colony of the Netherlands, Suriname gained independence in 1975. Since then, their economy has consisted mainly of mining and forestry activities. There are less than 600,000 people living in the entire nation, and over two-thirds of all people live in urban areas near the coast because of the dense forest inland.1 1 https://www.britannica.com/place/Suriname#toc285407

Demographics

Nationality
Surinamese
Population
566,846 (July 2013 est.)
Ethnic Groups
Languages
Religions

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Human Rights
Religion
Clean Water
Economy
Government
Health
Children
Environment
Family
Education
Poverty
Animals

Human Rights

Human trafficking is a pervasive issue within Suriname. Young girls and women are vulnerable to be lured into the prostitution industry. In remote mining camps, prostitution rings are common, and, with a very limited government presence in those regions, it is very difficult to monitor the sex trafficking.1 Additionally, migrant workers on fishing boats are vulnerable to forced labor. Freedom of thought, assembly, and press are protected and generally upheld. Although women are promised legal equality, they are still, in some cases, discriminated against in Suriname society.2

Religion

22% of Surinamese people practice Hinduism, 24% are Protestants, 22% identify with being Roman Catholic, 14% follow Islam, and the remaining percentage of the population are mostly followers of indigenous belief systems. The government protects citizens’ right to freely practice and follow any religion. There is separation of church and state present in Surinamese schools, although many public schools still observe religious holidays.1

Clean Water

95% of the population has access to clean water, and the only issues arise in extremely rural areas where there is less access to piped water infrastructures.1

Economy

The mining industry is the backbone of Suriname’s economy, with exports of aluminum, oil, and gold.1 High inflation has limited the amount of economic growth possible, and the poorly regulated economy has caused a budget deficit. There is a significant government presence in the economy which has continued to hamper economic growth and liberalization. The unemployment rate is estimated to be near 8%.2

Government

Suriname is a constitutional democracy, but there are large amounts of corruption which makes for low levels of trust between citizens and the government. There is a history of authoritarianism and government officials being involved in narcotic trafficking.1 Additionally, government corruption and organized crime continually undermine rule of law within the country.2

Health

Because of the thick rainforest that covers most of Suriname, the people are susceptible to waterborne illnesses and malaria. Undernourishment affects 8% of the population, and those living in rural areas or in poverty are more vulnerable to this.1 HIV/AIDs is common with over 40% of females being infected with HIV.2

Children

Suriname has thousands of children that are engaged in child labor and face exploitation either in sex trafficking or working in mines.1 Children are easily trafficked through the thick jungles to Guyana, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic.2

Environment

95% of Suriname is covered in dense rainforests. Although not all of this unique terrain is protected by the government, much of it is untouched by human activity.1 There are concerns that lose deforestation laws and poor mining regulation will damage the ecosystem and poison the water with mercury.2

Family

Because of the slave trade that used to exist in Suriname, there are a variety of different ethnic groups who can trace their roots to many places like African nations, India, Caribbean islands, Europe, and various indigenous groups. The fertility rate has decreased to under two children per family. However, less than 50% of people use contraceptives, and many families in rural areas are larger.1

Education

Over 90% of the population is literate, and school is compulsory up until age 12. There is more limited access to education in rural areas away from the coastline, so children are less likely to attend school there. The nation has secondary schools, junior colleges, and one university.1

Poverty

Suriname has not released statistical data on poverty levels in recent years, but there are likely high levels of disparity in standard of living between those in rural areas and those in cities.1

Animals

There are over 650 bird species, 150 mammal species, and 350 different types of fish in Suriname. Some these animals are only found in Suriname.1

Suriname

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