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ILO Convention No. 169 Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries 1989–2009: An Overview

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On 27 June 1989, by a majority of 328 votes for, one against and 49 abstentions, the International Labour Conference adopted the Convention No. 169 Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, which came into force on 5 September 1991. Twenty years later, the Convention remains the only modern international legally binding instrument containing a series of novel provisions specifically devoted to the rights of indigenous peoples with a view to recognising, protecting and promoting their distinct identity. Despite its shortcomings and its few ratifications (just 20), the Convention has proved to be a significant departure for the defence and strengthening of indigenous rights at national, regional (especially that of Latin America) and universal level.

Affiliations: 1: Hellenic League for Human Rights; Hellenic Society of International Law and International Relations

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