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UN expert visits China to assess human rights situation of older persons

GENEVA (22 November 2019) – UN human rights expert Rosa Kornfeld-Matte will carry out her first official visit to China from 25 November to 3 December 2019 to assess the human rights situation of older persons in the country.

“China has a rapidly ageing population of a very large size, and the visit will enable me to assess how it is addressing the challenges this poses,” said Kornfeld-Matte, the UN’s first Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons.

“I especially want to understand how China implements national and international standards relevant to the rights of older people, to identify good practices, and to provide recommendations on how to close potential gaps.”

The expert said she was keen to learn more about China’s Law on the Protection of the Rights and Interests of Older Persons and its implementation, which started a few years ago. She wants to explore the institutional framework, including the National Ageing Office and the National Committee on Ageing.

“I am particularly interested in China’s efforts to digitalise health and care services for older persons, and the use of artificial intelligence in hospitals and care settings,” said Kornfeld-Matte, who has been mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to assess the best ways to promote and protect the rights of older persons around the world.

The expert, who is visiting China at the invitation of the Government, will travel to Beijing, Shanghai, Changzhou and Shenzhen for discussions with government representatives, non-governmental organisations and others, as well as older persons themselves.

A press conference will be hold at 14:30h local time on Tuesday 3 December 2019 at UN House, No. 2 Liangmahe Nanlu, 100600 Beijing, China, to share her preliminary findings with the media. Access will be strictly limited to journalists.

Her full findings and recommendations will be presented in a report to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2020.


Ms Rosa Kornfeld-Matte (Chile) was appointed by the UN 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 Pontificia Unversidad Católica de Chile.

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 – China

For further information and media requests, please contact:
Mr. Khaled Hassine (+41 22 917 93 67, during the visit +41(0)79-2010123, khassine@ohchr.org), or write to olderpersons@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact:
Mr. Jeremy Laurence (+41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org)

Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts.

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