How do we continue to fully guarantee human rights as people age? This question is currently before the Belgian federal parliament, now that the Foreign Affairs Committee has adopted a resolution that calls for stronger human rights protection for older persons worldwide.
The resolution, submitted by Mrs Els Van Hoof, Member of the Chamber of Representatives of Belgium, asks the federal government, among other things, to explicitly promote an international convention to protect human rights in older age. The Vlaamse Ouderenraad (Flemish Council of older persons) welcomes this step.
Human rights in later life insufficiently protected
Within the United Nations, it has long been observed that various human rights are not adequately protected as people age and that insufficient attention is paid to the situation of older persons’ rights around the world. One of the solutions that is currently discussed at the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing, in which AGE is actively participating is to adopt a specific convention on the rights of older persons, as it was done previously for the rights of children, women and persons with disabilities.
The Flemish older persons’ Council has been raising the issue for several years
Since 2017, the Vlaamse Ouderenraad has been advocating that Belgium should also actively focus on the issue of older persons’ human both in terms of development cooperation and via the European Union and the United Nations. That question was recently picked up by the federal parliament, via a resolution submitted by Els Van Hoof.
Things in motion
On 28 January 2020 the Foreign Affairs Committee dedicated a hearing on the topic, at which the Vlaamse Ouderenraad, AGE Platform Europe, the Belgian Centre for equal opportunities – Unia and the Human Rights Service of the Foreign Affairs Department explained their views. This was a success: a resolution requesting the Federal Government of Belgium to support the elaboration of a new UN convention and participate in its drafting was approved on 19 February 2020 by a large majority in the committee. This is the first step towards an official Belgian position in favour of a new UN convention.
In March the discussion will follow in the plenary session of the Chamber of Representatives. The Vlaamse Ouderenraad is already looking forward to a positive result!
> Vlaamse Ouderenraad’s position papers:
- on strengthening the international framework for the human rights of older persons
- on the position of older people in developing countries