Signing of international law on tribal peoples complete

September 23, 2008

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Chile has become the latest country to sign the key international law on tribal peoples’ rights, becoming the third country in the last two years to do so.

Chile’s senate voted to ratify the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Convention 169 more than six months ago, but approval from the president, Michelle Bachelet, was still needed. Earlier this month Indigenous Chileans from the Mapuche tribe wrote a letter to Bachelet urging her to agree to it. On 15 September, the ILO announced that ratification was complete.

‘It’s a triumph for social activism,’ Indigenous leaders were reported as saying. ‘But the work has only just begun. If before it was to pressure the government to ratify the Convention, now it is to make sure they adhere to it.’

Chile’s ratification will put further pressure on the British government to sign the Convention. It has so far refused to do so and is the target of a major international campaign by Survival. Other countries to have signed in recent years include Spain and Nepal.