International Labour Organisation, ILO, has highlighted the need for world leaders to refocus their attention on the fundamental right of the people, especially in their daily demand for enabling environment that would enhance their participation governance.

iloThe world labour body also tasked the government to as a matter of priority, pay attention to their concerns, needs and aspirations, thus underlying the role of decent work in ensuring indigenous people’s health and well-being.

His speech to mark the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, which was posted on their website, ILO Director General, Guy Ryder, sad that the 2015 commemoration focuses on the theme “Post-2015 Agenda: Ensuring indigenous peoples’ health and well-being. ”

He added that the post-2015 development agenda is expected to offer a powerful tool for securing and protecting the rights of women and men from groups subjected to persistent marginalization and exclusion and responding to their needs.

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Mr. Ryder pointed out that the Post-2015 Development Agenda  as well as the follow-up to the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (2014)  will provide important frameworks for stepping up efforts to ensure that they can work in dignity with respect for their rights and inclusion in the coverage of social protection floors.

He however reminded world leaders that ILO’s international labour standards provide valuable guidance towards these ends. They also include the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169)  in which handicrafts, rural and community-based industries, as well as subsistence economy and traditional activities of indigenous peoples are identified as important factors in the maintenance of their cultures and in their economic self-reliance and development.

Other relevant Conventions include the Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202), and the Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy Recommendation (No. 204), as  adopted by the International Labour Conference in June 2015.

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The ILO DG promised that the organisation is willing to work with governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations and in partnership with indigenous peoples, and as part of the UN family, to ensure that indigenous peoples may enjoy access to decent work in inclusive and sustainable development processes.

“Indigenous people are highly vulnerable to such marginalization and exclusion. They are the most active in the world of work where they engage in an array of livelihood activities, thus increasingly combining traditional occupations and practices with new sources of income generation. They also rely on their traditional skills and knowledge as assets for commercial activities such as the creation of enterprises and cooperatives.

“But yet they commonly experience discrimination and exploitation and their women face double disadvantage of gender and ethnicity. Indigenous peoples have the right to decent work and decent work has a key role to play in ensuring their health and well-being” he said.

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He noted that as a result as the increasing pressure on traditional livelihood strategies, indigenous women and men seeking employment opportunities has often ended up in unprotected and precarious work, largely in the informal economy.

The ILO boss highlighted that, beyond the personal consequences, the denial of rights at work and the dignity of work also has a far-reaching implication for the development and well-being of the communities.

“A better and just future for indigenous people demand a new and innovative approach that would enhance their visibility and increased attention to their concerns, needs and aspirations.

“Respect for their cultures, traditions and ways of life must be the foundation of the way forward, particularly in ensuring that their voice is heard in the design and implementation of policies and measures meant to enhance their living and working conditions is fundamental”.