This website is an archive of the work of Marietje Schaake in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019. Marietje can be reached at

The human rights and environmental impact of gold mining in Suriname

Written questions

Gold is an important export product of Suriname, yet over 90% of gold mining jobs are located in the informal sector. This has led to the illegal cutting down of rainforest, the dangerous use of chemicals such as mercury and the exploitation of Surinam and foreign workers.  

The EU conflict minerals regulation seeks to curb the trade in minerals, which finance armed conflict. The regulation defines ‘high-risk’ countries as also including areas witnessing weak governance and security.  

1. How is the Commission taking human rights abuses, including forced and child labour, forced displacements, sexual violence and the destruction of cultural and religious sites  into account in the drafting of the lists of conflict-affected and high-risk areas and will Suriname be included in this list?

2. In its preparations for the lists of conflict-affected and high-risk areas, does the Commission also gather data about the costs of the environmental damage caused by illegal mining in the countries of concern and if so can the Commission make this data public?   

3. What other measures and/or initiatives does the EU have to regulate the import of minerals and other natural resources, which fall outside of the scope of existing legislation but do sustain human rights abuses and contribute to environmental damage in third countries?