Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

By Patrick Thornberry | Go to book overview

14

ILO standards II:
Convention 169

Emergence of the Convention

In November 1986, the Governing Body of the ILO decided to include on the agenda of the 75th Session of the International Labour Conference in 1988 a first discussion of the partial revision of Convention 107. The International Labour Office prepared a lengthy law and practice report which included the report of the Committee of Experts as an appendix and a questionnaire of eighty questions for governments and representatives of employers and workers. 1 The introduction to the report suggested, in a formula summarised by the International Labour Office, that

in preparing their replies . . . governments should consult representatives of indigenous and tribal populations in their countries, if any. There is clearly no requirement to do so, but as one of the major objectives of the proposed revision . . . is to promote consultation with these populations in all activities affecting them, this consultation may appear desirable to governments. 2

A leading commentator describes the suggestion to consult as `a move unique in the ILO's history'. 3 Other commentators have been less generous, suggesting that the consultation procedures and indigenous input into the revision process as a whole were `less than adequate': `The Workers' Delegation to the Committee on the Revision of Convention 107 did include some indigenous peoples. However, there was no direct, ongoing participation by the indigenous peoples sent by their respective organizations specifically to

____________________
1
International Labour Conference, 75th Session 1988, Partial Revision of the Indigenous and Tribal Populations Convention 1957 (No. 107), Report VI(1), 1988, pp. 93-100.
2
Partial Revision, Report VI(1), 1988, p. 2.
3
L. Swepston, `A new step in the international law on indigenous and tribal peoples: ILO Convention No.169 of 1989', Oklahoma City University Law Review, 15(3), autumn 1990, 677-714, at 685.

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