In collaboration with the UN Human Rights Regional Office for Europe and the European Disability Forum, we held on 20 October 2020 a policy webinar on lessons learnt from the pandemic on the protection of the human rights of older persons with disabilities in the European Union. This short webinar gathered a small number of key stakeholders, including the United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons and representatives of EU institutions, Member States and important civil society and human rights actors in the region. The event highlighted gaps in human rights protection exposed by COVID-19 and helped identify recommendations to close those gaps and build back better. The meeting was held under Chatham House rules to allow participants who are involved in policymaking at EU and national levels to speak freely. An outcome document (ADD LINK) reflecting main issues and recommendations made has been released, without citing participants.
The meeting stressed the need to move away from narratives that portray older persons as a burden to society. Participants also stressed that there is currently no specific strategy for the rights of older persons at EU level. While the Green Paper on Ageing is a welcome initiative, there were suggestions for it to be followed by a White Paper, and eventually legislative measures which would deliver more concrete protection to the rights of older people. The participants also called on the EU and Member States to support the development of a new international instrument to strengthen the protection of the human rights of older persons. Moreover, it was considered essential that due attention be paid to the intersection between age and disability in the forthcoming EU Disability Rights Strategy, the Green Paper on Ageing and the Action Plan of the European Pillar on Social Rights. The meeting also called for immediate initiatives to protect the rights older persons with disabilities during the pandemic, more investments to allow older people with disabilities to live in the community, and action to bridge the digital gap.
You may read the outcome paper here
For more information you may contact Nena Georgantzi, Policy Coordinator on Human Rights & Non-Discrimination, email@example.com