UN General Assembly adopts resolution on measures to promote the rights and dignity of older persons

UN logo-smallThe recently adopted resolution by the UN General Assembly, acknowledges the invisibility of older people’s rights at international scale and calls for in-depth analysis and action to improve their protection.

At the end of each year the UN General Assembly discusses a resolution, which takes stock of the implementation of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA) and provides the opportunity to refine the scope of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG) that was established in 2010.

On 25 November 2015 the UN adopted the resolution entitled ‘Measures to enhance the promotion and protection of the human rights and dignity of older persons’, which was put forward by a number of Latin-American states.

This document recognises that the MIPAA is – to date – the only international instrument that is specifically devoted to older persons and therefore remains an important reference to achieve positive change. Although the MIPAA does not focus on the rights of older people, its consistent implementation can considerably improve the lived experiences of older persons. For this reason, next year AGE intends to assess EU’s and Member States’ progress in applying the objectives enshrined in MIPAA, just in time for the review that will take place in 2017.

Moreover, the UN resolution asks Member States to explore alternative ways to ensure that the rights of older persons are respected. Existing policies and measures should be adapted to adequately address this group, while at the same time countries should consider the adoption of new programmes. The General Assembly also encourages the exchange of good practices and the use of existing international mechanisms, such as state reports to UN committees overlooking the application of UN conventions as well as the work of independent experts, to address the challenges faced by older persons across the world.

Last, the resolution asks the organisation of a session of the OEWG in 2016, so that Member States can present measures taken for the protection of the human rights and dignity of older persons, but also possible content for a new legal instrument. In other words, this resolution continues to apply the twin-track approach that is consistently followed the last years by the OEWG, which on the one hand focuses on the implementation of the existing human rights framework and on the other hand explores the added value and elements of a new convention.

For more information, contact Nena Georgantzi

, or read the full text of the resolution

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