The UN needs to address the human rights implications of new technologies! - AGE replies to UN consultation

Photo_by Pexels_from_Pixabay-cropped

Photo by Pexels from Pixabay

Digital technologies have a huge potential in addressing ageing issues. Yet, they also involve challenges, especially due to the rapid pace in which technological transformation is taking place. UNHRC_logoResponding to this, the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council will prepare a report on how human rights opportunities, challenges and gaps arising from new and emerging digital technologies could be addressed by the Human Rights Council. To support the drafting of this report, a consultation was launched until last October to collect input from key interested parties.

In consultation with our members, we have submitted our contribution to the UN consultation, taking stock of UN ongoing work on new technologies and of the previous work of the UN Independent Expert on the rights of older persons . In our response we underline the benefits of new technologies and how they can help realise older people’s rights to health, autonomy, independence and to ensure their full participation in society. We have also highlighted key challenges, in terms of safety, autonomy, privacy and equal treatment among others, as well as some gaps in the existing human rights framework that is not adequately equipped to address issues arising from technological innovation.

On top of that, we insist that without a clear prohibition of age discrimination and an explicit obligation for states to ensure access to support in old age, human rights law remains deficient. Older people are even more vulnerable than other groups to ill-health, exclusion, marginalisation, abuse and neglect. For example, the rights to support of persons with disabilities is guaranteed under human rights law, while those of older persons aren’t.  When they age, people are more likely to be excluded from the benefits of technology or to suffer their negative implications because human rights norms have treated older people’s rights as less serious than the rights of other groups. Against this lack of legal clarity and the increasing use of technologies in the care of older persons it is crucial to discuss their human rights implications and to set standards in order to ensure the equal enjoyment of all human rights by older persons.

You may read our input here
  

For more information you may contact, Nena Georgantzi: nena.georgantzi@age-platform.eu

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