Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169)

Year: 1989

Convention No.169 is a legally binding international instrument open to ratification, which deals specifically with the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples. Today, it has been ratified by 20 countries. Once it ratifies the Convention, a country has one year to align legislation, policies and programmes to the Convention before it becomes legally binding. Countries that have ratified the Convention are subject to supervision with regards to its implementation.

Since its adoption, Convention No. 169 has gained recognition well beyond the number of actual ratifications. Its provisions have influenced numerous policy documents, debates and legal decisions at the regional and international levels, as well as national legislation and policies.

The Provisions of Convention No. 169 are compatible with the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the adoption of the Declaration illustrates the broader acceptance of the principles of Convention No. 169 well beyond the number of ratifications.

Relevant articles

  • Article 2: “Governments shall do everything possible to prevent any discrimination between workers belonging to the peoples concerned and other workers, in particular as regards: (…) (c) medical and social assistance, occupational safety and health, all social security benefits and any other occupationally related benefits, and housing;”
  • Article 24: “Social security schemes shall be extended progressively to cover the peoples concerned, and applied without discrimination against them.”
  • Article 25(1): “Governments shall ensure that adequate health services are made available to the peoples concerned, or shall provide them with resources to allow them to design and deliver such services under their own responsibility and control, so that they may enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.”

Link to Convention

Social Protection and Human Rights