9th session of the OEWGA Side Event: National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI) and Human Rights of Older Persons

In view of this week’s 9th session of the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing, the National Human Rights Instruments (NHRI) have submitted written submissions and oral statements, in response to the two focus areas of “autonomy and independence” and “long-term care and palliative care”. Following up UN recommendations, this side event addressed the main cross-regional concerns in regards to the rights of older persons.

Hearing briefings from the Philippines, Croatia, Africa and Latin America, this side event first identified that long-term measures on long-term and palliative care for older persons are not adequate across countries. During the event, representatives lobbied on long-term health care measures, particularly age ceilings of paid health insurance services and universal health care systems.

In addition, the event underscored the problem of inconsistencies with the definitions of autonomy and independence for older persons. In fact, they are often misinterpreted as decision-making processes and lack legally binding powers across countries. Member states are called upon to come up with consistent, legally binding international instruments to offer clarity on parameters of protection of older persons.

Older persons are the driving forces of our economic development and shall not be left as marginalised social groups. They should not be mistreated with social injustice or infringements on human rights. Integrated human rights-based approaches should be well incorporated with government institutions to safeguard the rights of older persons.

Monday 23rd July 2018; 16:30 to 18:00; Conference Room E, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Mr. Lee Sung-ho, Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission of the Republic of Korea and Chairperson of the GANHRI Working Group on Ageing
Ms. Lora Vidović, Ombudswoman of the Republic of Croatia
Ms. Karen Gomez-Dumpit, Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines
Ms. Florence Simbiri Jaoko, Special Envoy, GANHRI
Ms. Liz Vela, Expert, Defensoía del Pueblo del Perú
Professor Andrew Byrnes, International Legal Advisor

Written by: WIT Representative LAU Chun Ki

9th session of the OEWGA Side Event: Addressing Inequalities Experienced by Older Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual, Questioning and Intersex People (LGBTQI)

In recent years, there have been more spontaneous international movements towards liberalising LGBTQI individuals. However, older LGBTQI individuals still experience social discrimination and cultural stigma. For example, interactions with older LGBTQI population could bring social discomfort to individuals. Together with the cumulative effects of ageing societies, the psychological stress encountered by the older LGBTQI have been traumatised, not to mention their access to health care services specialised for LGBTQI individuals. Hence, this side event aimed to address the inequalities by older LGBTQI people and discuss the call to action on behalf of older LGBTQI population.

The meeting drew attention to criminalisation of older LGBTQI population in over 70 countries worldwide. Intergovernmental organisations were called upon to decriminalise older LGBTQI population with the provision of LGBTQI-friendly facilities and comprehensive academic research on the inequalities of older LGBTQI population.The side event then heard briefings from representatives of Brazil and the United States of America. Representing Brazil, Dr. Alexandre Kalache underscored that the denial of older LGBTQI population varies with the governance. He expressed the imminent need to consider different age groups and address proper terminologies of the LGBTQI population. On the other hand, in view of mounting concerns about ageing from the younger LGBTQI people, Mr. Fabrice Houdart from the United States of America drew attention to alleviating psychological stress and isolation from the present and future LGBTQI elderly.

In conclusion there was a call to action on behalf of older LGBTQI people. More public information on catering the social, psychological and medical needs of older LGBTQI population should be disseminated. More trainings on providing gender-friendly services at elderly care centres and public housing should also be provided.

Monday 23rd July 2018; 15:00 to 16:30; Conference Room E, United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY

Ms. Maria Sjodin, Deputy Executive Director, Outright Action International
Dr Alexandre Kalache, Co-President, International Longevity Centre (ILC) Global Alliance; President, ILC-Brazil
Mr. Michael Adams, CEO, SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders)
Mr. James O’Neal, United Nations Representative, International Federation on Ageing

Mr. Fabrice Houdart, Human Rights Officer, Office the High Commissioner on Human Rights

Written by: WIT Representative LAU Chun Ki