The ArcticMainpage
Click to view
of this article
Historical Synopsis of the Sami/United Nations Relationship
by Christian Jakob Burmeister Hicks
Previous ChapterPrevious Chapter Next ChapterNext Chapter
Saami and the ILO
  The International Labour Organization (ILO) is an international organization that promotes and protects the rights of the employee. It has a tripartite system made up of governments, employers, and employees. It has been a long-time ally to indigenous peoples. The ILO Convention Number 107 was the first international legislation that dealt with indigenous people explicitly. Though it came at a time when assimilationist policies were the norm, it was a major leap forward for indigenous rights. No indigenous group was involved in the drafting of this convention. The nation-states were still the only participants allowed at such a high international level. The Saami were not involved for this reason and because they had just formed one year earlier.
  The review of 107 saw indigenous participation. The most significant participation came from the Nordic Saami Council. Leif Dunfjeld, currently a Senior Advisor for the Norwegian Ministry of Municipal Affairs, was working in Geneva in November 1986. At the time he was working as a representative for the Nordic Saami Council on the Working Group on Indigenous Peoples. In 1986, the ILO Convention 107 was up for review. None of the other indigenous groups saw the significance of participating in this process. Mr. Dunfjeld was a major player in the revision process. When the agenda had to be decided for the 1988 ILO conference. Eight different proposals were submitted and the Saami Councilís was heard and adopted. (Dunfjeld, 2002) ILO Convention Number 169 is the revision and replacement of Number 107. The assimilationist policies have been removed and are much more current. The first country to ratify this document was Norway.
Previous ChapterPrevious Chapter Next ChapterNext Chapter
Historical synopsis of the Sami/United Nations relationship,
by Christian J. B. Hicks.
Copyright Stefansson Arctic Institute and individual authors ©2000
Developed in partnership with the EU Raphael Programme