International Labour Organization and Indigenous and Tribal Peoples - Support to Indigenous Peoples Project in Cambodia

This project, funded by the Danish Agency for International Development (DANIDA) helps involve indigenous peoples in issues related to their rights and livelihoods.

The ILO has long been engaged in protecting indigenous and tribal peoples’ rights. This has involved two complementary approaches:

1. Standard setting

2. Technical assistance

Historical background

The issue was first looked into when the ILO focused on the situation of rural workers in 1920s. There was a large number of indigenous and tribal workers among them. Between 1936 and 1957 the ILO adopted a number of conventions to protect workers, including some which apply to indigenous and tribal workers. These conventions address issues such as recruitment, work contracts and forced labour.

The ILO Convention No. 169 revised Convention No. 107, making a change in the ILO’s approach to indigenous and tribal peoples. Protection is still the main objective but it is based on respect for indigenous and tribal peoples’ culture, their distinct ways of life, their traditions and customs. It is also based on belief that indigenous and tribal peoples have rights to continue to exist with their own identities and the right to determine their own way and pace of development.

The ILO’s Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169), is currently the only legally binding instrument that is specifically aimed at the protection of the rights of these peoples, and beyond the number of ratifications, the Convention serves as a set of guiding principles and a tool for resolving the numerous problems faced by indigenous peoples. Experience has shown that this Convention serves as a tool for conflict prevention, poverty reduction, good governance and dialogue, among other things.

The ILO and Indigenous peoples/Community in Cambodia:

Since May 2005, with its approaches and mandate based on the principles of Convention No. 169, the ILO-ITP in Cambodia is promoting participation and consultation of indigenous community in making any decision affecting them with the aim to reduce poverty in a way that respects their culture, distinct way of life, tradition and customs. The project is working in 3 provinces with high population of indigenous people, i.e Ratanakiri, Mondulkiri and Preah Vihear.

Fund : Danish Agency for International Development (DANIDA) and ILO-PRO 169 Geneva, Switzerland

Key activities

1. Capacity building on indigenous issues and their rights to indigenous organization, NGOs staff, government officials and other interested on various subjects relevant to indigenous issues and rights
2. Assistance on indigenous community registration as legal entity for collective land ownership. This is to contribute to safeguard traditional land and community management in conformity with national legislations and international standards.

Support to Indigenous Peoples in Cambodia
Phnom Penh Center, Building F, 2nd Floor,
Sihanouk & Sothearos Boulevard,
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Tel. +855 23 220 817
Fax. +855 23 221 536