24 Sep 2010

UN report urges France to ratify ILO convention on indigenous people's rights

1:27 pm on 24 September 2010

A UN report has criticised France's policy towards indigenous people, urging Paris to ratify Convention 169 of the International Labour Organisation.

A Geneva meeting of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination recommended that the French state recognise the collective rights of indigenous peoples.

It says by refusing to register the rights of indigenous peoples as constitutional principles, France keeps these people in a social, economic and cultural stalemate.

It says this means that France continues to evade the issue of fundamental rights essential to their survival in terms of ownership and use of ancestral lands and resources, civil and political liberties.

Convention 169 is the only legally binding international instrument that specifically addresses indigenous peoples' rights.

In the Pacific, only Fiji has ratified it.