Adopted on 27 June 1989 by the General Conference
of the International Labour Organisation at its
seventy-sixth session
Entry into force: 5 September 1991
The General Conference of the International Labour Organisation,
Having been convened at Geneva by the Governing Body of the International Labour Office,
and having met in its seventy-sixth session on 7 June 1989, and
Noting the international standards contained in the Indigenous and Tribal Populations
Convention and Recommendation, 1957, and
Recalling the terms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant
on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, and the many international instruments on the prevention of discrimination, and
Considering that the developments which have taken place in international law since 1957, as
well as developments in the situation of indigenous and tribal peoples in all regions of the
world, have made it appropriate to adopt new international standards on the subject with a
view to removing the assimilationist orientation of the earlier standards, and
Recognising the aspirations of these peoples to exercise control over their own institutions,
ways of life and economic development and to maintain and develop their identities,
languages and religions, within the framework of the States in which they live, and
Noting that in many parts of the world these peoples are unable to enjoy their fundamental
human rights to the same degree as the rest of the population of the States within which they
live, and that their laws, values, customs and perspectives have often been eroded, and
Calling attention to the distinctive contributions of indigenous and tribal peoples to the
cultural diversity and social and ecological harmony of humankind and to international
co-operation and understanding, and
Noting that the following provisions have been framed with the co-operation of the United
Nations, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the World Health Organization, as well
as of the Inter-American Indian Institute, at appropriate levels and in their respective fields,
and that it is proposed to continue this co-operation in promoting and securing the application
of these provisions, and
Having decided upon the adoption of certain proposals with regard to the partial revision of
the Indigenous and Tribal Populations Convention, 1957 (No. 107), which is the fourth item
on the agenda of the session, and
Having determined that these proposals shall take the form of an international Convention
revising the Indigenous and Tribal Populations Convention, 1957,
Adopts this twenty-seventh day of June of the year one thousand nine hundred and
eighty-nine the following Convention, which may be cited as the Indigenous and Tribal
Peoples Convention, 1989:
Part I. General policy
Article 1
1. This Convention applies to:
(a) Tribal peoples in independent countries whose social, cultural and economic conditions
distinguish them from other sections of the national community, and whose status is
regulated wholly or partially by their own customs or traditions or by special laws or
(b) Peoples in independent countries who are regarded as indigenous on account of their
descent from the populations which inhabited the country, or a geographical region to which
the country belongs, at the time of conquest or colonisation or the establishment of present
State boundaries and who, irrespective of their legal status, retain some or all of their own
social, economic, cultural and political institutions.
2. Self-identification as indigenous or tribal shall be regarded as a fundamental criterion for
determining the groups to which the provisions of this Convention apply.
3. The use of the term "peoples" in this Convention shall not be construed as having any
implications as regards the rights which may attach to the term under international law.
Article 2
1. Governments shall have the responsibility for developing, with the participation of the
peoples concerned, co-ordinated and systematic action to protect the rights of these peoples
and to guarantee respect for their integrity.
2. Such action shall include measures for:
(a) Ensuring that members of these peoples benefit on an equal footing from the rights and
opportunities which national laws and regulations grant to other members of the population;
(b) Promoting the full realisation of the social, economic and cultural rights of these peoples
with respect for their social and cultural identity, their customs and traditions and their
(c) Assisting the members of the peoples concerned to eliminate socio-economic gaps that
may exist between indigenous and other members of the national community, in a manner
compatible with their aspirations and ways of life.
Article 3
1. Indigenous and tribal peoples shall enjoy the full measure of human rights and
fundamental freedoms without hindrance or discrimination. The provisions of the Convention
shall be applied without discrimination to male and female members of these peoples.
2. No form of force or coercion shall be used in violation of the human rights and fundamental
freedoms of the peoples concerned, including the rights contained in this Convention.
Article 4
1. Special measures shall be adopted as appropriate for safeguarding the persons,
institutions, property, labour, cultures and environment of the peoples concerned.
2. Such special measures shall not be contrary to the freely-expressed wishes of the peoples
3. Enjoyment of the general rights of citizenship, without discrimination, shall not be
prejudiced in any way by such special measures.
Article 5
In applying the provisions of this Convention:
(a) The social, cultural, religious and spiritual values and practices of these peoples shall be
recognised and protected, and due account shall be taken of the nature of the problems
which face them both as groups and as individuals;
(b) The integrity of the values, practices and institutions of these peoples shall be respected;
(c) Policies aimed at mitigating the difficulties experienced by these peoples in facing new
conditions of life and work shall be adopted, with the participation and co-operation of the
peoples affected.
Article 6
1. In applying the provisions of this Convention, Governments shall:
(a) Consult the peoples concerned, through appropriate procedures and in particular through
their representative institutions, whenever consideration is being given to legislative or
administrative measures which may affect them directly;
(b) Establish means by which these peoples can freely participate, to at least the same extent
as other sectors of the population, at all levels of decision-making in elective institutions and
administrative and other bodies responsible for policies and programmes which concern
(c) Establish means for the full development of these peoples' own institutions and initiatives,
and in appropriate cases provide the resources necessary for this purpose.
2. The consultations carried out in application of this Convention shall be undertaken, in good
faith and in a form appropriate to the circumstances, with the objective of achieving
agreement or consent to the proposed measures.
Article 7
1. The peoples concerned shall have the right to decide their own priorities for the process of
development as it affects their lives, beliefs, institutions and spiritual well-being and the lands
they occupy or otherwise use, and to exercise control, to the extent possible, over their own
economic, social and cultural development. In addition, they shall participate in the
formulation, implementation and evaluation of plans and programmes for national and
regional development which may affect them directly.
2. The improvement of the conditions of life and work and levels of health and education of
the peoples concerned, with their participation and co-operation, shall be a matter of priority
in plans for the overall economic development of areas they inhabit. Special projects for
development of the areas in question shall also be so designed as to promote such
3. Governments shall ensure that, whenever appropriate, studies are carried out, in
co-operation with the peoples concerned, to assess the social, spiritual, cultural and
environmental impact on them of planned development activities. The results of these studies
shall be considered as fundamental criteria for the implementation of these activities.
4. Governments shall take measures, in co-operation with the peoples concerned, to protect
and preserve the environment of the territories they inhabit.
Article 8
1. In applying national laws and regulations to the peoples concerned, due regard shall be
had to their customs or customary laws.
2. These peoples shall have the right to retain their own customs and institutions, where
these are not incompatible with fundamental rights defined by the national legal system and
with internationally recognized human rights. Procedures shall be established, whenever
necessary, to resolve conflicts which may arise in the application of this principle.
3. The application of paragraphs 1 and 2 of this Article shall not prevent members of these
peoples from exercising the rights granted to all citizens and from assuming the
corresponding duties.
Article 9
1. To the extent compatible with the national legal system and internationally recognised
human rights, the methods customarily practised by the peoples concerned for dealing with
offences committed by their members shall be respected.
2. The customs of these peoples in regard to penal matters shall be taken into consideration
by the authorities and courts dealing with such cases.
Article 10
1. In imposing penalties laid down by general law on members of these peoples account shall
be taken of their economic, social and cultural characteristics.
2. Preference shall be given to methods of punishment other than confinement in prison.
Article 11
The exaction from members of the peoples concerned of compulsory personal services in any
form, whether paid or unpaid, shall be prohibited and punishable by law, except in cases
prescribed by law for all citizens.
Article 12
The peoples concerned shall be safeguarded against the abuse of their rights and shall be
able to take legal proceedings, either individually or through their representative bodies, for
the effective protection of these rights. Measures shall be taken to ensure that members of
these peoples can understand and be understood in legal proceedings, where necessary
through the provision of interpretation or by other effective means.
Part II. Land
Article 13
1. In applying the provisions of this Part of the Convention governments shall respect the
special importance for the cultures and spiritual values of the peoples concerned of their
relationship with the lands or territories, or both as applicable, which they occupy or
otherwise use, and in particular the collective aspects of this relationship.
2. The use of the term "lands" in Articles 15 and 16 shall include the concept of territories,
which covers the total environment of the areas which the peoples concerned occupy or
otherwise use.
Article 14
1. The rights of ownership and possession of the peoples concerned over the lands which they
traditionally occupy shall be recognised. In addition, measures shall be taken in appropriate
cases to safeguard the right of the peoples concerned to use lands not exclusively occupied
by them, but to which they have traditionally had access for their subsistence and traditional
activities. Particular attention shall be paid to the situation of nomadic peoples and shifting
cultivators in this respect.
2. Governments shall take steps as necessary to identify the lands which the peoples
concerned traditionally occupy, and to guarantee effective protection of their rights of
ownership and possession.
3. Adequate procedures shall be established within the national legal system to resolve land
claims by the peoples concerned.
Article 15
1. The rights of the peoples concerned to the natural resources pertaining to their lands shall
be specially safeguarded. These rights include the right of these peoples to participate in the
use, management and conservation of these resources.
2. In cases in which the State retains the ownership of mineral or sub-surface resources or
rights to other resources pertaining to lands, governments shall establish or maintain
procedures through which they shall consult these peoples, with a view to ascertaining
whether and to what degree their interests would be prejudiced, before undertaking or
permitting any programmes for the exploration or exploitation of such resources pertaining to
their lands. The peoples concerned shall wherever possible participate in the benefits of such
activities, and shall receive fair compensation for any damages which they may sustain as a
result of such activities.
Article 16
1. Subject to the following paragraphs of this Article, the peoples concerned shall not be
removed from the lands which they occupy.
2. Where the relocation of these peoples is considered necessary as an exceptional measure,
such relocation shall take place only with their free and informed consent. Where their
consent cannot be obtained, such relocation shall take place only following appropriate
procedures established by national laws and regulations, including public inquiries where
appropriate, which provide the opportunity for effective representation of the peoples
3. Whenever possible, these peoples shall have the right to return to their traditional lands,
as soon as the grounds for relocation cease to exist.
4. When such return is not possible, as determined by agreement or, in the absence of such
agreement, through appropriate procedures, these peoples shall be provided in all possible
cases with lands of quality and legal status at least equal to that of the lands previously
occupied by them, suitable to provide for their present needs and future development. Where
the peoples concerned express a preference for compensation in money or in kind, they shall
be so compensated under appropriate guarantees.
5. Persons thus relocated shall be fully compensated for any resulting loss or injury.
Article 17
1. Procedures established by the peoples concerned for the transmission of land rights among
members of these peoples shall be respected.
2. The peoples concerned shall be consulted whenever consideration is being given to their
capacity to alienate their lands or otherwise transmit their rights outside their own
3. Persons not belonging to these peoples shall be prevented from taking advantage of their
customs or of lack of understanding of the laws on the part of their members to secure the
ownership, possession or use of land belonging to them.
Article 18
Adequate penalties shall be established by law for unauthorised intrusion upon, or use of, the
lands of the peoples concerned, and governments shall take measures to prevent such
Article 19
National agrarian programmes shall secure to the peoples concerned treatment equivalent to
that accorded to other sectors of the population with regard to:
(a) The provision of more land for these peoples when they have not the area necessary for
providing the essentials of a normal existence, or for any possible increase in their numbers;
(b) The provision of the means required to promote the development of the lands which these
peoples already possess.
Part III. Recruitment and conditions of employment
Article 20
1. Governments shall, within the framework of national laws and regulations, and in
co-operation with the peoples concerned, adopt special measures to ensure the effective
protection with regard to recruitment and conditions of employment of workers belonging to
these peoples, to the extent that they are not effectively protected by laws applicable to
workers in general.
2. Governments shall do everything possible to prevent any discrimination between workers
belonging to the peoples concerned and other workers, in particular as regards:
(a) Admission to employment, including skilled employment, as well as measures for
promotion and advancement;
(b) Equal remuneration for work of equal value;
(c) Medical and social assistance, occupational safety and health, all social security benefits
and any other occupationally related benefits, and housing;
(d) The right of association and freedom for all lawful trade union activities, and the right to
conclude collective agreements with employers or employers' organisations.
3. The measures taken shall include measures to ensure:
(a) That workers belonging to the peoples concerned, including seasonal, casual and migrant
workers in agricultural and other employment, as well as those employed by labour
contractors, enjoy the protection afforded by national law and practice to other such workers
in the same sectors, and that they are fully informed of their rights under labour legislation
and of the means of redress available to them;
(b) That workers belonging to these peoples are not subjected to working conditions
hazardous to their health, in particular through exposure to pesticides or other toxic
(c) That workers belonging to these peoples are not subjected to coercive recruitment
systems, including bonded labour and other forms of debt servitude;
(d) That workers belonging to these peoples enjoy equal opportunities and equal treatment in
employment for men and women, and protection from sexual harassment.
4. Particular attention shall be paid to the establishment of adequate labour inspection
services in areas where workers belonging to the peoples concerned undertake wage
employment, in order to ensure compliance with the provisions of this Part of this
Part IV. Vocational training, handicrafts and rural industries
Article 21
Members of the peoples concerned shall enjoy opportunities at least equal to those of other
citizens in respect of vocational training measures.
Article 22
1. Measures shall be taken to promote the voluntary participation of members of the peoples
concerned in vocational training programmes of general application.
2. Whenever existing programmes of vocational training of general application do not meet
the special needs of the peoples concerned, governments shall, with the participation of these
peoples, ensure the provision of special training programmes and facilities.
3. Any special training programmes shall be based on the economic environment, social and
cultural conditions and practical needs of the peoples concerned. Any studies made in this
connection shall be carried out in co-operation with these peoples, who shall be consulted on
the organisation and operation of such programmes. Where feasible, these peoples shall
progressively assume responsibility for the organisation and operation of such special training
programmes, if they so decide.
Article 23
1. Handicrafts, rural and community-based industries, and subsistence economy and
traditional activities of the peoples concerned, such as hunting, fishing, trapping and
gathering, shall be recognised as important factors in the maintenance of their cultures and in
their economic self-reliance and development. Governments shall, with the participation of
these peoples and whenever appropriate, ensure that these activities are strengthened and
2. Upon the request of the peoples concerned, appropriate technical and financial assistance
shall be provided wherever possible, taking into account the traditional technologies and
cultural characteristics of these peoples, as well as the importance of sustainable and
equitable development.
Part V. Social security and health
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.
2. Health services shall, to the extent possible, be community-based. These services shall be
planned and administered in co-operation with the peoples concerned and take into account
their economic, geographic, social and cultural conditions as well as their traditional
preventive care, healing practices and medicines.
3. The health care system shall give preference to the training and employment of local
community health workers, and focus on primary health care while maintaining strong links
with other levels of health care services.
4. The provision of such health services shall be co-ordinated with other social, economic and
cultural measures in the country.
Part VI. Education and means of communication
Article 26
Measures shall be taken to ensure that members of the peoples concerned have the
opportunity to acquire education at all levels on at least an equal footing with the rest of the
national community.
Article 27
1. Education programmes and services for the peoples concerned shall be developed and
implemented in co-operation with them to address their special needs, and shall incorporate
their histories, their knowledge and technologies, their value systems and their further social,
economic and cultural aspirations.
2. The competent authority shall ensure the training of members of these peoples and their
involvement in the formulation and implementation of education programmes, with a view to
the progressive transfer of responsibility for the conduct of these programmes to these
peoples as appropriate.
3. In addition, governments shall recognise the right of these peoples to establish their own
educational institutions and facilities, provided that such institutions meet minimum
standards established by the competent authority in consultation with these peoples.
Appropriate resources shall be provided for this purpose.
Article 28
1. Children belonging to the peoples concerned shall, wherever practicable, be taught to read
and write in their own indigenous language or in the language most commonly used by the
group to which they belong. When this is not practicable, the competent authorities shall
undertake consultations with these peoples with a view to the adoption of measures to
achieve this objective.
2. Adequate measures shall be taken to ensure that these peoples have the opportunity to
attain fluency in the national language or in one of the official languages of the country.
3. Measures shall be taken to preserve and promote the development and practice of the
indigenous languages of the peoples concerned.
Article 29
The imparting of general knowledge and skills that will help children belonging to the peoples
concerned to participate fully and on an equal footing in their own community and in the
national community shall be an aim of education for these peoples.
Article 30
1. Governments shall adopt measures appropriate to the traditions and cultures of the
peoples concerned, to make known to them their rights and duties, especially in regard to
labour, economic opportunities, education and health matters, social welfare and their rights
deriving from this Convention.
2. If necessary, this shall be done by means of written translations and through the use of
mass communications in the languages of these peoples.
Article 31
Educational measures shall be taken among all sections of the national community, and
particularly among those that are in most direct contact with the peoples concerned, with the
object of eliminating prejudices that they may harbour in respect of these peoples. To this
end, efforts shall be made to ensure that history textbooks and other educational materials
provide a fair, accurate and informative portrayal of the societies and cultures of these
Part VII. Contacts and co-operation across borders
Article 32
Governments shall take appropriate measures, including by means of international
agreements, to facilitate contacts and co-operation between indigenous and tribal peoples
across borders, including activities in the economic, social, cultural, spiritual and
environmental fields.
Part VIII. Administration
Article 33
1. The governmental authority responsible for the matters covered in this Convention shall
ensure that agencies or other appropriate mechanisms exist to administer the programmes
affecting the peoples concerned, and shall ensure that they have the means necessary for the
proper fulfilment of the functions assigned to them.
2. These programmes shall include:
(a) The planning, co-ordination, execution and evaluation, in co-operation with the peoples
concerned, of the measures provided for in this Convention;
(b) The proposing of legislative and other measures to the competent authorities and
supervision of the application of the measures taken, in co-operation with the peoples
Part IX. General provisions
Article 34
The nature and scope of the measures to be taken to give effect to this Convention shall be
determined in a flexible manner, having regard to the conditions characteristic of each
Article 35
The application of the provisions of this Convention shall not adversely affect rights and
benefits of the peoples concerned pursuant to other Conventions and Recommendations,
international instruments, treaties, or national laws, awards, custom or agreements.
Part X. Final provisions
Article 36
This Convention revises the Indigenous and Tribal Populations Convention, 1957.
Article 37
The formal ratifications of this Convention shall be communicated to the Director-General of
the International Labour Office for registration.
Article 38
1. This Convention shall be binding only upon those Members of the International Labour
Organisation whose ratifications have been registered with the Director-General.
2. It shall come into force twelve months after the date on which the ratifications of two
Members have been registered with the Director-General.
3. Thereafter, this Convention shall come into force for any Member twelve months after the
date on which its ratification has been registered.
Article 39
1. A Member which has ratified this Convention may denounce it after the expiration of ten
years from the date on which the Convention first comes into force, by an act communicated
to the Director-General of the International Labour Office for registration. Such denunciation
shall not take effect until one year after the date on which it is registered.
2. Each Member which has ratified this Convention and which does not, within the year
following the expiration of the period of ten years mentioned in the preceding paragraph,
exercise the right of denunciation provided for in this Article, will be bound for another period
of ten years and, thereafter, may denounce this Convention at the expiration of each period
of ten years under the terms provided for in this Article.
Article 40
1. The Director-General of the International Labour Office shall notify all Members of the
International Labour Organisation of the registration of all ratifications and denunciations
communicated to him by the Members of the Organisation.
2. When notifying the Members of the Organisation of the registration of the second
ratification communicated to him, the Director-General shall draw the attention of the
Members of the Organisation to the date upon which the Convention will come into force.
Article 41
The Director-General of the International Labour Office shall communicate to the
Secretary-General of the United Nations for registration in accordance with Article 102 of the
Charter of the United Nations full particulars of all ratifications and acts of denunciation
registered by him in accordance with the provisions of the preceding Articles.
Article 42
At such times as it may consider necessary the Governing Body of the International Labour
Office shall present to the General Conference a report on the working of this Convention and
shall examine the desirability of placing on the agenda of the Conference the question of its
revision in whole or in part.
Article 43
1. Should the Conference adopt a new Convention revising this Convention in whole or in
part, then, unless the new Convention otherwise provides:
(a) The ratification by a Member of the new revising Convention shall ipso jure involve the
immediate denunciation of this Convention, notwithstanding the provisions of Article 39
above, if and when the new revising Convention shall have come into force;
(b) As from the date when the new revising Convention comes into force this Convention
shall cease to be open to ratification by the Members.
2. This Convention shall in any case remain in force in its actual form and content for those
Members which have ratified it but have not ratified the revising Convention.
Article 44
The English and French versions of the text of this Convention are equally authoritative.