A cross-regional Group of Friends of Older Persons

UN-PhotoMartine-Perret-(2)The fourth working session of the working group took place from 12-15 August, and saw an increased number of Member States taking part and offering perspectives and positions. Also noteworthy was the level and quality of interventions.

There is some consensus amongst Member States of the shortcomings that exist when it comes to the enjoyment by older persons of their human rights, and broad agreement on the overall analysis of the situation of the human rights of older persons and the urgent need for improvement. Member States hold a range of views on how to address these shortcomings. Some are of the view that there the existing international  normative framework provides adequate protection of older persons, but implementation, monitoring and accountability fall short of delivering these rights. Others hold the view that a legally binding instrument which would consolidate and provide clarity on the application of all existing rights to older persons is necessary to collate and is a necessary to achieve their economic and social integration and protect them from abuse and discrimination.

The Fourth Working Session revisited some specific rights such as the right to social protection, the right to health, the right to work as well as various dimensions of age discrimination.

The Session also discussed the regional findings of the second review and appraisal of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (2012) on the promotion and protection of human rights and dignity of older.

An update was provided on three ongoing regional processes: the drafting of a Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Older Persons; the elaboration of a Council of Europe recommendation on the human rights of older persons and; the project of a Pan-American convention on the promotion an protection of the rights of older persons.

For the first time, the Open-ended Working Group on ageing also held an interactive dialogue with representatives of civil society in attendance.

Member States put forward a number of proposals for consideration by, and in support of the work of the Working Group.  The formation of a cross-regional Group of Friends of Older Persons was announced during the closing debate. It aims at building on discussions of the Working Group and transforming them into concrete actions. The Group of Friends also intends to focus discussions to further the dignity and rights of older persons beyond the annual session of the Working Group by generating dialogue across the UN system including agencies and subsidiary bodies among others.

For more information: http://social.un.org/ageing-working-group/fourthsession.shtml