Understanding the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention

This handbook explains Convention No. 169 (1989) to governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations, as well as for indigenous and tribal peoples.

Convention No. 169 represents a consensus reached by ILO tripartite constituents on the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples within the nation-States where they live and the responsibilities of governments to protect these rights. It is based on respect for the cultures and ways of life of indigenous peoples and recognizes their right to land and natural resources and to define their own priorities for development. The Convention aims at overcoming discriminatory practices affecting these peoples and enabling them to participate in decision-making that affects their lives. Therefore, the fundamental principles of consultation and participation constitute the cornerstone of the Convention.

This handbook has been elaborated by the Programme to Promote ILO Convention No. 169 (PRO 169) and the International Labour Standards Department in close cooperation with the Bureau for Employers’ Activities (ACT/EMP) and the Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV), with the aim of providing the ILO constituents with a practical tool to better understand the relevance, scope and implications of Convention No. 169 and to foster joint efforts for its implementation.