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Mandate of the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons

On 29 September 2016, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 33/5, entitled 'The human rights of older persons' without a vote, by which it welcomes the work and taking note with appreciation of the reports of the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons and of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing, which is open to all States Members of the United Nations, for the purpose of strengthening the protection of the human rights of older persons, and acknowledges the efforts of States to determine the best way to strengthen the protection of the human rights of older persons, considering the various proposals that have been made within the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing, including the possible elaboration of a multilateral legal instrument on the rights of older persons. Further the Human Rights Council notes with appreciation the developments at the regional level in the protection and promotion of the human rights of older persons, such as the Inter-American Convention on the Protection of Human Rights of Older Persons and the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa, as adopted by their State parties, and that between 2015 and 2030, the number of persons aged 60 years or over is projected to grow by 56 per cent, from 901 million to 1.4 billion, and that this increase will be the greatest and the most rapid in the developing world, and recognizing that greater attention is needed to the specific challenges affecting older persons, including in the field of human rights; and therefore concerned at the multiple forms of discrimination that may affect older persons and at the high incidence of poverty and isolation among this particularly vulnerable group, especially older women, persons with disabilities, persons of African descent, individuals belonging to indigenous peoples, persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, rural persons, persons living on the streets, migrants and refugees, among other groups.

The Human Rights Council established, for a period of three years, the following mandate of the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons:

  • To continue to assess the implementation of national, regional and international standards relevant to the rights of older persons and to identify, exchange and promote best practices relating to the promotion and protection of these rights;
  • To report on developments, challenges and protection gaps in the realization of the rights of older persons, including as input to the work of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing, and to make recommendations to the Human Rights Council in this regard;
  • To gather, request, receive and exchange information and communications from and with States and other relevant sources, including older persons, their representative organizations and other civil society organizations, on violations of the rights of older persons;
  • To conduct, facilitate and support the provision of advisory services, technical assistance, capacity-building and international cooperation in support of national efforts for the effective realization of the rights of older persons;
  • To raise awareness of the challenges faced in the realization of the human rights of older persons and of the positive contribution of older persons to society, and to provide them with information about their rights;
  • To engage in dialogue and to consult with States and other relevant stakeholders, including United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, regional human rights mechanisms, national human rights institutions, older persons, civil society organizations and academic institutions;
  • To work in cooperation with States, assisting them when requested, in order to foster the implementation of measures that contribute to the promotion and protection of the rights of older persons;
  • To integrate a gender and disability perspective throughout the work of the mandate, and to address multiple, intersecting and aggravated forms of discrimination faced by older persons;
  • To work in close coordination, while avoiding unnecessary duplication, with the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing, other special procedures and subsidiary organs of the Human Rights Council, relevant United Nations bodies and the treaty bodies.

Methods of work

In the discharge of the mandate, the Independent Expert will:

  • Receive information from diverse sources including States, NGOs and other civil society organizations, United Nations agencies, regional and other inter-governmental organizations;
  • Communicate with States and other concerned parties with regard to alleged cases of violations of the human rights of older persons and other issues related to the mandate;
  • Submit annual reports on the activities to the Human Rights Council;
  • Undertake, at the invitation of Governments, country visits to study national legislation, policy, regulatory frameworks, institutions and practices, in seeking to identify best practices and gaps in the implementation of the existing law.