Key international law on tribal peoples ratified

March 11, 2008

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Chile has signed up to the world’s key international law on tribal peoples, following Spain and Nepal to become the third country to sign in the last eighteen months.

The Chilean senate voted overwhelmingly in favour of ratifying International Labour Organisation Convention 169 (ILO 169), which recognizes the rights of Indigenous peoples to ownership of their land.

Most of Chile’s South American neighbours have ratified the convention, but only four European countries have done so: Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain. Chile’s ratification will increase pressure on the British government, which is being targeted in an international campaign to persuade it to ratify the convention.

The Chilean planning minister described the senate’s ratification as an ‘historic vote’, and an important advance in Chile’s relations with its Indigenous peoples.

Survival’s director Stephen Corry said today, ‘I’m delighted that Chile has ratified the law. I hope the British and other European governments will stop making excuses and sign up to the basic human rights standards laid out in the convention.’

For more information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]