ILO Convention 169

Koordinationskreis ILO 169

Alliance welcomes German ratification of ILO Convention on the Protection of Indigenous Peoples
ILO Convention 169 * Ratification * Indigenous Peoples

Berlin, April 15, 2021. The Bundestag today passed the ratification law on the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 169 on the Protection of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, fulfilling an agreement in the coalition agreement. The ILO 169 Coordination Group sees this as a decisive step towards strengthening the rights of indigenous peoples. The convention guarantees indigenous peoples their rights to preserve their cultural identity, to participate in state decision-making, and to land and resources.

Indigenous peoples continue to be severely disadvantaged politically, economically and socially today. "By ratifying ILO Convention 169, Germany is sending a strong signal of solidarity with indigenous peoples. Now it is important to also protect their rights in a very concrete way," says Dagmar Pruin, President of Bread for the World. "In many parts of the world, the habitat of indigenous peoples is threatened - by deforestation of the rainforest in Brazil, by lithium extraction in Bolivia or by palm oil cultivation in Indonesia." Since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, the living conditions of indigenous peoples around the world have worsened because they often do not have access to health services.

"The destruction of the rainforest exposes indigenous peoples, the defenders of the forest, to multiple threats that affect the climate at regional and global levels," says Harol Rincón Ipuchima, vice president of Climate Alliance and climate coordinator of COICA, the umbrella organization of indigenous organizations in the Amazon basin. In this context, the territories of indigenous peoples and their traditional knowledge are of global importance for the preservation of biological and cultural diversity.

ILO Convention 169 is the only legally binding international instrument to protect the rights of indigenous peoples. "With the German ratification of ILO 169, the convention gains considerable weight. This should set a precedent," emphasizes Jan Diedrichsen, Federal Chairman of the Society for Threatened Peoples. So far, only 23 countries have ratified the convention. Now Germany joins the group of European states without their own indigenous communities that have also ratified, such as the Netherlands, Spain and Luxembourg. In doing so, they are sending a signal of solidarity and global responsibility.

"Ratification must be followed in the next step by concrete measures to protect the rights of indigenous peoples," says Michael Thiel, director of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Agency in Lower Saxony. To this end, he says, it is important to develop an interdepartmental strategy in the next legislative period. "For example, concrete guidelines for foreign trade promotion are needed to respect the rights of indigenous peoples. Likewise, German companies are called upon to take indigenous rights into account along the entire supply chain," says Heike Drillisch, board member of INFOE - Institute for Ecology and Action Ethnology.

Worldwide, between 350 and 400 million people belong to around 6,000 indigenous peoples. This corresponds to about four to five percent of the world's population.

The Coordination Circle ILO 169 in Germany is a coalition of civil society organizations, networks and experts working to strengthen the rights of indigenous peoples, human rights and the protection of rainforests and climate protection.

ILO 169 Coordination Circle Germany
Indigenous peoples include 370 million people in about 5000 cultures from over 90 countries.

Cooperation in the 'ILO 169 Coordination Circle
The 'Coordination Circle ILO169' has set itself the goal of persuading the German government to ratify Convention 169 of the International Labor Office (ILO); this contains provisions for the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples.

We cooperate in the 'Coordination Circle ILO 169'.