February 2003



FEBRUARY 2003 Contents



 Jarawa of Andaman 



 Cello in Indian 
 Classical Music


 Suhasini Mulay

 In News

 South Asian voice at
 Davos - Jan. 2003


 Siblings - achievers
 not inheritors

 Real Issues

 Code of conduct for

 Incest & Child Abuse


 Serialisation of  'Knock at every alien 
 door' - Joseph Harris



 Int'l Sporting Events

 Cricket World Cup
 2003 Schedule

 Editor's Note

 the craft shop

 Lehngas - a limited collection

 the print gallery


 Silk Road on Wheels

 The Road to Freedom

Enduring Spirit

 Parsis-Zoroastrians of

The Moonlight Garden

Contemporary Art in









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Following information  was provided by Survival - a London based organisation supporting tribal people worldwide. Survival's contact details appear at the end of this page.


The law and tribal peoples

International law clearly says that tribal peoples own the lands they live on and use. Your country may also have its own laws about tribal peoples. National laws should not contradict international law, though in fact many do.

Your own country’s laws

Indigenous organisations should be able to provide copies of the relevant national laws and explain what they mean.

If not, ask the government (either the department that deals with indigenous peoples or the ministry of justice or law). Often such requests will be ignored. In that case, we suggest you carry on asking repeatedly.


International law

The two most important laws about tribal peoples are Conventions 107 and 169 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), part of the United Nations (UN). If your country has signed up to either of these conventions, then it is law in your country. More countries sign the newer Convention 169 (but not 107) all the time.

To the right is a list of those countries which have signed these conventions (at the time of printing), and important sections of their texts.

Even if your country has not agreed to these conventions, they can still be used to show your government what the international standards are, and to urge it to apply them.


What if your country’s laws disagree with international law?

You should point this out to the ministry of justice or law, preferably by writing. Such letters will often be ignored, but it is useful to send more letters repeatedly, to the most senior person responsible – the minister or even the president.


Can the United Nations help tribal peoples?

The United Nations (UN) is an association of national governments. Its main purpose is to prevent war between countries.

It can only help you a little, if at all. It will hear cases of violations of peoples’ rights by governments. But because it is controlled by governments, it is unlikely to take any action.

Survival can advise on using the UN, but results are only likely after a very long time (if at all). Do not expect the UN to be the solution to your problems.


International Labour Organisation (ILO) Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (Convention 169)

Article 14 states: ‘The rights of ownership and possession of the peoples concerned over the lands which they traditionally occupy shall be recognised’. It obliges governments to identify the lands and protect these rights.

Article 4 guarantees ‘special measures’ to protect tribal peoples and their ‘institutions, property, labour, cultures and environment’.

Article 5 ensures recognition and protection of their ‘social, cultural, religious and spiritual values and practices’.

Article 6 obliges governments to consult with tribal peoples on all ‘legislative or administrative measures’ affecting them, and establish ways for tribal peoples to participate

in decisions made by government.

Article 7 ensures a right for tribal peoples to decide the priorities for any ‘development’ affecting them or their lands.

Article 8 guarantees respect for tribal peoples’ customs and laws.

Article 15 calls for protection of tribal peoples’ rights to their land’s natural resources, and states that, if the government retains the ownership of the mineral resources on tribal land, the people concerned must be consulted about and benefit from any exploitation of them, and be compensated for damage.


The following  countries have agreed to ILO Convention 169:

Argentina - Bolivia - Brazil - Colombia - Costa Rica - Denmark - Ecuador - Fiji - Guatemala - Honduras - Mexico - Netherlands - Norway - Paraguay - Peru

*Survival has worked for tribal peoples in those countries written in bold, as well as in many others which have not agreed to either law.


International Labour Organisation (ILO) Indigenous and Tribal Populations Convention, 1957 (Convention 107)

Article 11 ‘The right of ownership, collective or individual, of the members of the populations concerned over the lands which these populations traditionally occupy shall be recognised.’

The following  countries have agreed to 107 but not yet to 169.

Angola Bangladesh Belgium Cuba Dominican Rep. Egypt 
El Salvador
Ghana Guinea Bissau Haiti India Iraq Malawi Pakistan Panama Portugal Syria Tunisia

*Survival has worked for tribal peoples in those countries written in bold, as well as in many others which have not agreed to either law.


Contact Survival:


6 Charterhouse Buildings

London EC1M 7ET

United Kingdom

By email to:

By fax to the United Kingdom:

+ 44 20 7687 8701

By telephone to the United Kingdom:

+ 44 20 7687 8700




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