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Executive Summary

Suriname is a constitutional democracy with a president elected by the unicameral National Assembly. Elections for the National Assembly took place in May 2020. International observers considered these elections to be free and fair. In July 2020 the National Assembly elected Chandrikapersad Santokhi as president.

The armed forces are responsible for national security and border control, with the military police having direct responsibility for immigration control at the country’s ports of entry. All elements of the military are under the control of the Ministry of Defense. Civilian police bear primary responsibility for maintaining law and order and report to the Ministry of Justice and Police. Police and military personnel continued to conduct regular, joint patrols as part of the government’s efforts to combat crime, and both also served jointly on special security teams. Civilian authorities maintained effective control over the military and police. There were credible reports that members of the security forces committed some abuses.

Significant human rights issues included credible reports of cruel and degrading treatment of individuals by police, serious and widespread acts of corruption, and the existence of some of the worst forms of child labor.

The government took steps to investigate, prosecute, and punish officials who committed human rights abuses, whether in the security forces or elsewhere in the government. Corruption cases were investigated, and the government implemented the laws on corruption effectively at times.

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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future