International labour standards regarding indigenous and tribal peoples

The adoption and supervision of international labour standards - which can take the form of Conventions or Recommendations, lies at the heart of the ILO’s mandate to promote social justice and decent work for all.

From Convention No.107 to Convention No.169

The Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No.169) has replaced the Indigenous and Tribal Populations Convention, 1957 (No.107) which had an inherent assimilationist orientation that was typical of its time. Convention No.107 is now closed for ratification and countries that ratified it are invited to consider ratifying the newer Convention. The ILO, however, continues supervision of Convention No.107 for countries who have ratified it but not yet Convention No. 169.

The provisions of Convention No.169 are based on respect for the cultures and ways of life of indigenous and tribal peoples and aims at overcoming discriminatory practices affecting these peoples and enabling them to participate in decision-making that affects their lives. The Convention covers a wide range of issues pertaining to indigenous and tribal peoples, including as regards consultation and participation, rights to land, employment and vocational training, education, health and social security, customary law, traditional institutions, and cross-border cooperation.

ILO standards supervisory mechanisms

Countries that have ratified an ILO Convention, such as Convention No.169, have an obligation to report periodically on the measures taken to apply its provisions. For this purpose, the ILO has set up dedicated supervisory mechanisms that review reports, and also receive complaints.