Fighting for indigenous rights

ILO169 Ratification in Luxemburg

The ILO Convention 169 was adopted in 1989 and entered into force in 1991. To date, 22 states have ratified it, including the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway and Spain. Any country that does so - whether indigenous peoples live there or not - strengthens this legal instrument.


The Climate Alliance Luxembourg, representing two thirds of Luxembourg’s inhabitants, chose the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio as an appropriate time to pass a resolution, during its 14th May 2012 plenary assembly: "The General Assembly of Climate Alliance Lëtzebuerg calls on the government and the Chamber of Deputies to ratify on 14 May 2012 in Kehlen the Convention No. 169 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent States in 2012 as a sign of their responsibility towards the indigenous peoples of the world and for the defence of universal human rights."


On 12 June 2012, the Chamber unanimously agreed to the motion, based on this resolution, of Member of Parliament Camille Gira, that Luxembourg should ratify the ILO Convention 169. This was followed by two years of internal persuasion in the administration and discussions with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Environment, due to their content-related proximity. In April 2014, the three ministers Asselborn, Schmit and Dieschbourg finally responded to a parliamentary question from Member of European Parliament Marc Angel by saying that they did not see any major obstacles to ratification.


The final impetus came from the 2015 UN Summit in New York on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the adoption of the Paris Agreement. This international treaty explicitly underlines the importance of indigenous peoples for the protection of the climate, forests and biodiversity: in all actions on climate change, states should respect the rights of indigenous peoples and take traditional and indigenous knowledge into account.


Finally, Minister Nicolas Schmit gave the definitive commitment to agree to the ratification in September 2016 during talks with the Climate Alliance Lëtzebuerg. After years of political discussions in Luxembourg, the ratification finally took place in February 2018!

  • Ratification in Luxemburg

    Ratification in Luxemburg