Patrick Thornberry
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ILO standards I
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In the matter of general instruments on indigenous peoples, the International Labour Organization (ILO) was first in the field. ILO Conventions 107 and 169 are in force, although the former is now closed to ratification. Both employ, to differing extents, the language of collective rights—rudimentary in the first treaty, massively conditioning the second. They represent the bulk of contemporary hard law of international indigenous rights. They work within the context of the ILO, but interrelate with the general world of human rights. They offer adapted general rights as well as specific rights not found elsewhere in international treaty law. The ILO can claim much of the credit for bringing rights of indigenous peoples—as such, and not as derivatives of other rights or applications of them—into the forefront of contemporary discussion. The Organisation has been regularly concerned with the condition of indigenous peoples during the course of its existence.

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