Tanja Joona

Abstract

International organizations are considered to be central actors on the stage of world politics. They are not simply passive collections of rules or structures through which others act. Rather, they are considered to be active agents of global change. International organizations are often the actors to whom we defer when it comes to defining meanings, norms of good behaviour, the nature of social actors, and categories of legitimate social action in the world. The article has an interdisciplinary approach to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and its Convention No. 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent countries. The approaches of international relations and international law helps explain the power the ILO exercises in national and world politics. These insights are illustrated by exploring why state agents comply with norms promoted by the regime of ILO Convention No. 169. The article briefly introduces the historical approach of the ILO to indigenous issues and the complexity related to the concept of indigenousness; the highly relevant debate when states are considering the ratification of the Convention and even when implementing it. The Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) in the ILO structure is the most central body guiding the States to normative and political changes in their domestic practices. It is argued that the Committee is using its authority and power through the normative regime and its supervisory mechanisms, and therefore is also interpreting the Convention. The system as a whole has effects on traditional state sovereignty and the demands of indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination. The research questions focuses also on the compliance, implementation and effectiveness of international Conventions. The article has a Nordic approach with comparison to different approaches related to Article 1 dealing with the subjects/objects of the Convention and also different land right situations (Articles 13‐19) especially in Latin America.

Tanja Joona

The article examines the common global phenomenon of indigenous urbanization. In Finland, more than 75% of the indigenous Sámi children are born outside the Sámi Homeland area. The development is fast and poses different kind of challenges for the entire Sámi society and culture. Youth and women are more likely to settle in urban areas and it is their Sáminess that is to survive or die in the cities. Indigenousness is no longer tied with traditional livelihoods or land use but instead requires other forms of cultural maintenance. In the contemporary situation Sámi have started through their own associations and networks require more appropriate services in the cities, including Sámi language learning in the schools and kindergartens. This is not always satisfactory. The article evaluates the existing international and domestic (Finland) legislation in regard to Sámi language, but also the implementation of these rights in practice.

The author would like to acknowledge that the article is based on a joint research project called NUORGÁV – An urban future for Sápmi?, between Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia, where it is studied how Sámi youth organise and network to impact urban Sámi policy. The project is funded by the Research Council of Norway and administrated by Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR).