Indigenous and tribal peoples have their own cultures, ways of life, traditions and customary laws. Unfortunately, throughout history, lack of respect for tribal and indigenous cultures has led to numerous instances of social conflict and bloodshed. Today, the international community has accepted the principle that the cultures, ways of life, traditions and customary laws of indigenous and tribal peoples are valuable and need to be respected and protected, and that indigenous and tribal peoples should participate in decision-making processes in the country in which they live. The most recent ILO standards on this subject set out these principles and provide a framework for governments, organizations of indigenous and tribal peoples, and non-governmental organizations to ensure the development of the peoples concerned, with full respect for their needs and desires.
Selected relevant ILO instruments
- The Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169) - [ratifications] and the older Indigenous and Tribal Populations Convention, 1957 (No. 107) - [ratifications] are to date the only international treaties dealing exclusively with the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples. Convention No. 169, which is considered an up-to-date instrument and which revised Convention No. 107, provides for consultation and participation of indigenous and tribal peoples with regard to policies and programmes that may affect them. It provides for enjoyment of fundamental rights and establishes general policies regarding indigenous and tribal peoples' customs and traditions, land rights, the use of natural resources found on traditional lands, employment, vocational training, handicrafts and rural industries, social security and health, education, and cross-border contacts and communication.
Preparatory Reports for Convention No. 169:
ILC, 75th Session, 1988, Report VI (1) & Report VI (2)
ILC, 75th Session, 1988, Provisional Record No. 32 (p. 1071-1098)
ILC, 76th Session, 1989, Report IV (1), Report IV (2A) & Report IV (2B)
ILC, 76th Session, 1989, Provisional Record No. 25 (p. 802-834)
Further relevant instruments
Representations under article 24 of the ILO Constitution