UNESCO Social and Human Sciences
You are in the MOST Phase I website (1994-2003).
The MOST Phase II website is available at: www.unesco.org/shs/most.


International Labor Organization Convention No.169

The International Labour Convention (No. 169) Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries was adopted 27 June 1989 and entered into force 5 September 1991. As of 22 June1992, Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico and Norway have ratified the Convention.

Article 28

  1. Children belonging to the peoples concerned shall, wherever practicable, be taught to read and write 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 language of the peoples concerned.

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.

Note: For the complete text of the Convention in English or Spanish as well as information about ratification, see:

To MOST Clearing House Homepage