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The Moiwana Village Case: A New Trend in Approaching the Rights of Ethnic Groups in the Inter-American System

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 July 2006


Moiwana Village is the second case to be decided by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights against Suriname in which the victims are members of an ethnic community that descends from ‘Bush Negroes’ or ‘Maroons’, namely escaped former slaves who established new autonomous communities in the eastern part of Suriname. In contrast to its prior judgment, in Moiwana the Court shows a striking evolution in its case law regarding the treatment of ethnic or group rights. This approach, which may be traced back to previous case law on the rights of indigenous communities, affords an enhanced protection to members of an ethnic community in the light of their disadvantaged position as a vulnerable group and taking into account the ancestral traditions followed by the community. After the Moiwana case, the Court decided Yakye Axa and Yatama, two cases regarding indigenous and ethnic communities in which this tribunal consolidated its approach towards the protection of these vulnerable groups.

2006 Foundation of the Leiden Journal of International Law

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