UN Expert calls for further international instruments for the human rights of older people

UN Independent Expert An important development took place last week when the UN Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of All Human Rights by Older Persons concluded in her final report that the Madrid International Action Plan on Ageing (MIPAA) is not an adequate framework and asked Member States to consider drafting a new convention.

Ms. Kornfeld-Matte exposed several good and promising practices but noted with regret that ‘none of those areas has however been covered extensively and little or no information has been received on some crucial issues such as legal capacity, quality of care, long-term care, palliative care, assistance to victims of violence and abuse, available remedies, independence and autonomy, or the right to an adequate standard of living, particularly housing’.

Similarly, in her analysis of the application of Madrid International Action Plan on Ageing, the Expert notes that while the Action Plan has been instrumental in the development of national strategies and policies on ageing in a number of countries, these often have a limited scope, therefore failing to address the full spectrum of civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights.

The Independent Expert also reports that the MIPAA has fostered the participation of older persons in the design of action plans and policies at national level, which is essential in order to reflect the needs and concerns of older persons. It is also claimed that it helped raise awareness of the situation of older persons.

Despite these welcome advancements, the UN expert reminds that the MIPAA is not a human rights instrument and concludes that it is not sufficient to ensure the full enjoyment of their human rights by older persons’. This is why she calls on states to step up their efforts to protect the rights of older people, in particular by considering the elaboration of a new convention. With this objective in mind she recommends that the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG) should present to the UN General Assembly a proposal containing the main elements that should be included in an international legal instrument to promote and protect the rights and dignity of older persons.

AGE – with the help of its members – will analyse this report and share it with policymakers at national and EU level. We will also use its findings to finalise our shadow contribution for the review of the MIPAA and prepare a position that might be included in a new instrument in advance of the next OEWG.

You may read the Independent Experts’ report here (in English). It is also available in French and in Spanish.

For more information, you may contact Nena Georgantzi, Policy Officer for Human Rights, nena.georgantzi@age-platform.eu

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