Indigenous people in Nepal: A case of Cabinet lethargy

National Action Plan (NAP), prepared to implement the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, is pending in the Cabinet’s approval for a year. The delay in its implementation was one of the key reasons behind Sunday’s nationwide transport strike called by the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN).

NAP was prepared in coordination with the Ministry of Local Development (MoLD) after the government ratified the ILO convention 169 on 22 Aug 2007 and registered the ratification with the ILO director general on 14 Sept the same year.

Talking to Post, Joint Secretary at MoLD Siva Bahadur Rayamajhi, said the plan should have been already finalised since the Cabinet had already given a go-ahead in last November.

Nepal is the only country to ratify the convention in Asia and one of the 20 countries to endorse it in the world.

The convention provisions that it shall come into effect 12 months after its ratification is registered with the director general.

In 2009, a high-level committee comprising representatives of 23 ministries and of indigenous peoples’ organisations had advised the government to reform over hundreds of the existing national laws if it is to conform to the requirements of the convention, according to Shankar Limbu, an expert on ILO convention 169.

“If the Cabinet’s Social Committee endorses the action plan in its current form, it will ensure the rights of indigenous population enshrined in the convention 169,” said Limbu.


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