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Jimmy Carter with his grandson Hugo

[Photo Credit: The Elders, Flickr]

Next week, William (Bill) T. Smith of Aging in America will attend the Open Ended Working Group 3rd session  in New York on behalf of IAHSA, where the Committee on Ageing will be presenting to the government delegations, a list of nearly 100 endorsements on a call to action.  IAHSA is one of the many organizations who has signed this call.  The supporting organizations are suggesting ways the OEWG on Ageing can strengthen human rights instruments to better protect and promote older people’s rights.

The goals of this action plan include:

  • Providing governments with a legal framework, guidance and support
  • Having the capacity to address emerging concerns
  • Guiding human rights organizations and civil society

Here are 10 reasons why we need to act to protect the rights of older people:

1– The Number of older people worldwide is growing at an unprecedented pace.

2– There is no dedicated protection regime for older people’s rights.

3– There are clear gaps in protections available to older people in existing human rights standards.

4– Older people’s rights are neglected in the current human rights framework.

5– Age discrimination and ageism are widely tolerated across the world.

6– Older people are highly vulnerable to abuse, deprivation and exclusion.

7– Older people hold rights but are often treated with charity instead of as rights holders.

8– National protections of older people’s rights are inconsistent.

9– Respect for older people’s rights benefits society as a whole.

10– Older people are an. increasingly powerful group.


Let’s work together towards building a consensus around the human rights of older persons!

[This list was written by HelpAge International along with papers prepared for the meeting. For more information, please visit ]

On Thursday, July 26, 2012 the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) will continue considering the social and human rights questions on how to engage more constructive participation by Member States during their meeting in New York.

From 23-27 July, 2012 ECOSOC’s primary focus of the General Segment will be to discuss the state of world affairs in the field of development.  Item 14 on the agenda, Social and Human Rights, will tackle the report from the High Commissioner for Human Rights on human rights of older persons.

In April 2012, the UNHCHR issued a report (E/2012/51) in 6 UN languages on the human rights of older persons.  The report concluded that powerful advocacy efforts are needed for a new convention.  The Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) was established to strengthen the protection of the human rights of older persons and continues to make headway.

The OEWG will then have their third substantive session on 1-4 August 2012 in New York.

Per the April UNHCHR report:

“64. The situation of older persons presents a number of particular and urgent human rights challenges…each posing a set of issues that deserves in-depth analysis and regulation.

66. Current arrangements at the national and international level to protect the human rights of older persons are inadequate. Dedicated measures to strengthen the international protection regime for older persons are called for without further delay.”

The second working session discussed five topics, namely, discrimination and multiple discrimination; right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; violence and abuse; social protection and the right to social security; and age and social exclusion.

We look forward to a positive third session and encourage NGOs to help the OEWG advocate for the rights of older persons.

Flags in front of UN Headquarters

[credit: USAID_images]

in Latin America, many older people scrape by without a pension; often times they live in poverty without access to food, housing or medical care. To address this problem, the Government of Mexico City and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean will host an international event from 26 to 28 March, 2012, to discuss measures to ensure economic security among elders. The aim of the meeting is to contribute, from the Latin American and Caribbean perspective, to the work that is being developed by the United Nations Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing and the Working Group on the Protection of the Human Rights of Older Persons of the Organization of American States. For more information on the event, click here.

You might also want to check out this video from HelpAge International on their efforts to ensure human rights of older people in Bolivia and Peru.

About this blog

IAHSA’s Global Ageing Network Blog was created because of you!! We got your message loud and clear – “Provide us with a quick and nimble communications vehicle so we can stay connected and create community across borders".

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Virginia Nuessle, Study Tour Director

Majd Alwan, Director, CAST

Alla Rubinstein, Program Administrator, IAHSA

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