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UN expert to assess human rights situation of older persons in Costa Rica

GENEVA / SAN JOSE  (4 May 2016)– United Nations human rights expert Rosa Kornfeld-Matte will carry out her first official visit to Costa Rica from 9 to 18 May 2016 to assess the human rights situation of older persons in the country.

“Costa Rica has accorded population ageing a high priority over the last few years,” said the first Independent Expert tasked by the UN Human Rights Council with monitoring, reporting and advising on the promotion and protection of the rights of older persons in the world.

“However,” Ms. Kornfeld-Matte noted, “the Costa Rican society is experiencing a rapidly moving process of demographic transition, which brings with it questions related to the sustainability of the pension and health care systems.”

During her ten-day visit, the UN Independent Expert will identify both best practices and gaps in the implementation of existing laws, policies and programmes related to the promotion and protection of the rights of older persons.

“I am also interested to learn more about the challenges that Costa Rica faces and what measures are being put in place for older persons living in both urban and rural areas, to enjoy the full spectrum of their rights,” she added.

Ms. Kornfeld-Matte, who is visiting the country at the invitation of the Government, will travel to San José and will also visit Limón and Liberia, and other locations, where she will meet with Government representatives, non-governmental organizations, older persons themselves, and others working with older persons and related issues.

At the end of her visit, on Wednesday 18 May, the expert will share her preliminary findings with the media at a press conference to be held at 12:00 a.m. (tbc) at the United Nations House, Oficentro La Virgen 2, edificio 1, Pavas, San José. Access to the press conference is strictly limited to journalists.

The Independent Expert will present her findings and recommendations of her country visit in a report to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2016.

Ms. Rosa Kornfeld-Matte (Chile) was appointed by Human Rights Council as the first Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons in May 2014. Ms. Kornfeld-Matte served as the National Director of the Chilean National Service of Ageing where she designed and implemented the National Policy of Ageing. She has a long career as an academic and is the founder of the programme for older persons at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. Learn more, visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/OlderPersons/IE/Pages/IEOlderPersons.aspx

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page –Costa Rica: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/LACRegion/Pages/CRIndex.aspx

For further information and media requests, please contact:

In Geneva (before and after the visit):
Mr. Khaled Hassine (+41 22 917 93 67, khassine@ohchr.org)
Ms. Lydia Gény (+41 22 917 96 06/ lgeny@ohchr.org) or write to olderpersons@ohchr.org.

In Costa Rica (during the visit): Ms. Lydia Gény (+41 79 444 4078/ lgeny@ohchr.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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