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    118644

    Protecting indigenous rights. Guatemala.

    WORLD OF WORK. 1996 Sep-Oct; (17):8.

    Guatemala's recent ratification of the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention regarding indigenous and tribal peoples (1989, No. 169) represents a commitment to guarantee the rights of the country's majority Mayan population. Ratifying governments are obligated to respect the traditional values and land rights of tribal and indigenous peoples and to consult with them on any decisions affecting their economic or social development. Ratification of this Convention was a key element in an eight-part UN-sponsored negotiation aimed at ending the civil war in Guatemala. Efforts are underway to promote dialogue between organized civil society and government. Negotiations in May 1996, conducted with ILO assistance, resulted in a socioeconomic agreement under which Guatemala will increase social investment in education, undertake agrarian reform, and institute tripartite consultation on all major social and economic issues. However, two key issues in the peace negotiations--the role of the army in civil society and constitutional reform--remain unresolved. The final global peace accord is expected to be signed in September 1996. UN organizations are already working to mobilize international support for transforming these agreements into political and social realities for the Guatemalan people.
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