AGE highlights discrimination faced by older persons with disabilities for UN Committee report

The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is currently finalizing a General Comment on the Right to Equality and Non-Discrimination. AGE provided written input shedding a light on the discrimination faced by older persons with disabilities.

UN Convention CRPD logoGeneral Comments are texts adopted by the Committee that monitors the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), where the content of a right and how it can be applied in practice by governments is explained. The CRPD Committee is currently preparing a General Comment on article 5 of the Convention, which is about equality and non-discrimination.

The Committee notes that persons with disabilities are faced with discrimination leading to continued exclusion, segregation and lack of redress, particularly women, children and older persons with disabilities, persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities and those with high support requirements and those whose disabilities are not visible. The differential treatment of people with disabilities contravenes the Convention and its principles, including the respect for the inherent dignity, autonomy, and freedom to make one’s choices. Such practices are often wrongly justified as normal or legitimate and remain unchallenged.

AGE position

AGE welcomes the far-reaching interpretation of the right to equality and non-discrimination included in the draft general comment and is particularly pleased with the inclusion of references to older people and to the intersection of age and disability discrimination. In our written submission, which complements the contribution we sent to the Committee in an earlier consultation, we highlight how the General Comment could better address the discrimination faced by older persons with disabilities. We note with regret that the CRPD Committee and other UN bodies have paid limited attention to whether rights apply equally in older age and urge the Committee to clarify that situations, such as age limits and other age-related barriers, which are routinely applied by States parties in legal entitlements to disability benefits and services are not permitted under the Convention. As long as the CRPD Committee does not address this differential treatment, States parties will continue to apply discriminatory policies and laws that work against older persons with disabilities.

Next steps

The CRPD Committee will revise the draft General Comment based on the comments received by civil society, States and other stakeholders. Explaining State obligations to end discrimination against persons with disabilities, the General Comment – once finalized and adopted – will guide the implementation of this right by national governments.

For more information, you may contact Nena Georgantzi,

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