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Legislative history

The Human Rights Council Advisory Committee at the initiative of one of its members, in 2009 submitted a working paper to the HRC on “The necessity of a human rights approach and effective United Nations mechanism for the human rights of the older person”. The paper sought a mandate from the HRC to conduct a full study on discrimination in the context of the HROP with consideration of the establishment of an international convention on the human rights of the elderly. No action was taken by the HRC in this regard.

In 2010, the Independent Expert on extreme poverty dedicated her annual report to the role that social protection systems play in reducing extreme poverty and in contributing to the realization of human rights of older persons.

In its resolution 15/22 of 30 September 2010, the HRC requested the SR on the right to health to prepare a thematic study on the realization of the right to health of older persons.

On the basis of this study, a panel discussion was held at the HRC in September 2011 on the right to health of older persons focusing on increasing challenges that older persons face and on an opportunity to identify good practices and possible measures.

Also in 2011, OHCHR contributed to the report of the Secretary General to the 66th session of the GA entitled “Follow-up to Second World Assembly on Ageing”.  A questionnaire was sent to States and various stakeholders soliciting observations and information on existing legislation, policies and programmes related to various human rights issues related to older persons. The report provides an overview of some challenges faced by older persons in the enjoyment of their rights and outlines examples of Government responses to those challenges including through an illustrative collection of legislation, policies and programmes. The report also underlines four critical human rights issues for older persons, namely discrimination, poverty, lack of special measures, services and facilities, and violence and abuse.

In 2012, the High Commissioner’s annual report to ECOSOC focused on the HROP. It provides an overview of the existing international instruments and the gaps in the international protection regime, particularly focusing on areas such as age discrimination, legal capacity and equal recognition before the law, long-term care, violence and abuse, access to productive resources, work, food and, social protection and the right to social security, the right to health and end-of-life care, disabilities, and older persons in prison and access to justice. It inter alia recommended the creation of a new special procedure mandate.

Pursuant to HRC resolution 21/23 of 28 September 2012, the Office organized a public consultation on the promotion and protection of the HROP in April 2013, in order to receive information and share good practices on the matter. A summary report was submitted to the 24th session of the HRC in September 2013. It concluded that “while most international human rights instruments are applicable to all age groups, including older persons, a number of human rights issues that are particularly relevant to older persons have not been given sufficient attention either in the wording of existing human rights instruments or in the practice of human rights bodies and mechanisms.”

At the 24th session of the HRC in September 2013, Argentina and Brazil submitted resolution 24/20, which was adopted on 27 September 2013 without a vote.


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Ms. Rosa Kornfeld-Matte
Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons
OHCHR-UNOG CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax: +41 22 917 9006
E-mail: olderpersons@ohchr.org