Protecting the rights of older persons

The third substantive session of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing will take place in New York on 21-24 August

In December 2010, the UN General Assembly established an open-ended working group aimed at strengthening the protection of the human rights of older persons. It was mandated to consider the existing international framework and to identify possible gaps and how best to address them. The open-ended working group held two working sessions in April and August 2011. 

During the first session, the working group focused on the international and regional human rights structure and how it addresses the specific situation of older persons. A number of fissures in the protection system were identified. The second session was devoted to considering some specific thematic human rights issues relevant to older persons, such as multiple discrimination, the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, violence and social exclusion. 

The topics of the upcoming third substantive session will include (a) age discrimination, (b) abuse and violence against older persons, (c) life in dignity, social security and access to resources, (d) access to justice, and (e) older persons, autonomy, independent living and health care. The session is open to all Member States, UN system organizations and accredited NGOs. 

Participants have consistently noted various gaps within the international human rights framework including normative, implementation and information gaps. These disparities contribute to challenges faced by older persons in the enjoyment of their lives and their rights. So far, some Member States called attention to normative gaps and the importance of universal standards to effectively enhance the protection of older persons, while other Member States underlined that existing instruments could be better implemented and used for more effective monitoring. 

For more information: 
Open-ended Working Group on Ageing