Globally, indigenous peoples represent a demographic minority and they are amongst the world's most disenfranchised peoples. A definition used by the International Labour Organisation (Convention No. 169, concerning the working rights of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, 1989) applies to:
Tribal peoples whose social, cultural and economic conditions distinguish them from other sections of the national community, and whose status is regulated wholly or partially by their own customs or traditions or by special laws or regulations.
Peoples who are regarded as indigenous on account of their descent from the
populations which inhabited the country, or a geographical region to which the
country belongs, at the time of conquest or colonisation or the establishment of
present state boundaries and who, irrespective of their legal status, retain some or
all of their own social, economic, cultural and political institutions.8
The Convention also states that self-identification as indigenous or tribal shall be
regarded as a fundamental criterion for determining the groups to which the
provisions of this Convention apply.
Existing International norms and standards:
The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and;
Also, from UNESCO: