Nepal's move inspires Asian indigenous leaders

Sixty-one international participants from twelve Asian countries meet to discuss the challenges, opportunities and implementing the ILO Convention 169 and UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples (IPs).

Press release | 27 April 2007

Chairman of the Constituent Assembly Subash Chandra Nemwang has said that Nepal presents a unique and valuable experience in the field of respecting the rights of indigenous peoples (IPs) by unanimously ratifying the ILO Convention 169 and is spearheading the process of its implementation.

Inaugurating a three day Asia Regional Seminar in Kathmandu, Monday entitled: Experiences and lessons learned concerning the implementation of indigenous people's rights, Nemwang, who is himself an indigenous group of Nepal said there is no doubt the new constitution of Nepal will provide the constitutional framework for its implementation. Stating that challenges and opportunities are before the country, he said the Asia Regional Seminar on the rights of IPs will provide vital inputs in the process of implementing the ILO Convention 169 and UN Declaration on IPs.

Country Director of ILO Nepal Shengjie Li said ILO Convention 169 marks a milestone in the struggle to ensure equality for the 370 million indigenous peoples around the world. Considering that Convention No. 169 and the UN Declaration are compatible and mutually reinforcing the implementation process of the two instruments is largely one and the same. He said 20 countries, including Nepal have ratified ILO Convention 169 on indigenous and tribal peoples.

Vice Chair of National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities, Jitpal Kirat said the government has given priority to the building of modern and egalitarian society in the 21st century through the ratification of ILO Convention 169 and respect to UN Declaration on IPs in the country of great diversity where more than 100 ethnic communities live and speak over 90 languages.

Bangladesh's Minister of State Dipankar Talukdar said Nepal had been an inspiration for the whole region for ratifying the ILO Convention No. 169 on Indigenous and Tribal People's Rights and stressed that all democratic forces of the world must join hands to uphold and protect the rights of the indigenous peoples.

Joint Secretary Krishna Prasad Devkota highlighted government's National Action Plan on implementation of ILO Convention No. 169.

Indigenous and tribal leaders from 12 Asian countries have said that the discussions on the implementation and replicability of good practices and lessons learned will facilitate a process, where government and indigenous institutions can assess their specific needs for capacity building and technical assistance and strengthen their networking at the regional level.

61 international participants from Bangladesh, Burma, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam have joined the seminar jointly put up by the Asian Indigenous Peoples' Pact (AIPP), National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities (NFDIN), Nepal, the ILO Programme to Promote ILO Convention No. 169 (PRO 169) and UNDP Regional Indigenous Peoples Programme (RIPP).

For further information please contact:

Mr Shengjie Li, Director

Mr Mukta Lama, National Project Coordinator
ILO Office in Nepal
Tel: +977 1 5555777, 5551082