Monitoring Care of Older Persons – A Human Rights Perspective

The world is aging fast; more than 20% of the population will be aged over 65 by 2050. The demand for care is increasing, and older people need to receive care that respects their human rights. Mr. Hallergard introduced the newly funded project by the European Union, called ‘’Human rights of older persons in long-term care”, which will be carried out by the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI). Ms. Jurczak highlighted the major role of the European Union in coordinating social protection and enhancing the rights of citizens. So far, the EU has worked on the quality of care, and prevention of elder abuse and neglect. They have funded some “pilot projects” on raising awareness, and have published a report with OECD called “A good life in old age?”

a-good-life-in-old-age_9789264194564-enLong-term care is vital. As of now, the costs of care are 1.6% of GDP of OECD countries. The goal is to double this figure by 2050. Furthermore, governments have the responsibility to protect vulnerable older people from potential abuse. Ms. Mahler introduced the National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), which are state funded institutions. Many NHRIs in Europe work to promote and protect older persons’ human rights. The project with the EU aims at embedding human rights standards and approaches in the care of older persons by increasing human rights protection for older persons, raising awareness, development of practical tools, and spreading best practices for supporting and monitoring older person care. Several areas will be taken into account, including relationship with home care, rights of care staff, impact of the economic crisis, diversity of older persons, and the Convention on the rights of older persons. Furthermore, human rights impact assessments will be carried out to monitor and evaluate the project. A human rights approach requires empowerment and accountability.


Meeting Title: “Monitoring care of older persons from a human rights perspective”
Speakers: Carl Hallergard, Minister Counsellor , Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations; Kasia Jurczak, Policy Analyst, Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission; Claudia Mahler, German Institute for Human Rights/European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI); Commissioner Kazi Hoque, National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh, Asia Pacific Forum
Location: Conference Room A, United Nations Headquarters, New York
Date: 31 July 2014
Written By WIT representative: Samantha Kong
Edited By: Marli Kasdan

Opening of the Open-Ended Working Group on Aging

In order to strengthen the protection of the rights of older people, the fifth session of the Open- Ended Working Group on Aging (OEWGA) commenced today. Issues on the care of older people, violence and abuse against older people, and planning for end of life care were discussed.

Aging is one of the greatest social and economic challenges in the 21st century that we are currently facing worldwide. Representatives of the European Union stated that more than 20% of Europeans will be 65 years old or older by 2050. The EU has adopted a report last month, which underlines the importance of social investment in long-term care. It is necessary to provide adequate social protection connected to long-term care.

Furthermore, the representative of the United States highlighted that it is necessary to focus on developing practical measures to address the rights of older persons. In 2010, President Obama signed into law the Elder Justice Act, which is dedicated to the prevention, detection, treatment, intervention, and prosecution of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

images-13Furthermore, the issue of human rights of older persons has been on the agenda in Japan for a long time. Japan has the most rapidly aging population in the world. 25.1% of the population is aged 65 years old or older, and this percentage will reach 40% by 2060. The reasons for rapid aging are due to the improvement of living conditions and food quality, as well as the advancement in medical treatment, and the decline in the birth rate. Japan is currently promoting cooperation with ASEAN for Active Aging to exchange views with various countries and civil society in tackling this global issue. According to the World Health Organization, active aging is the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation, and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age.

Meeting Title: Fifth Session of Open Ended Working Group on Ageing
Speakers: Mr. Mateo Estrémé, Chair of OEWGA; Representative of the European Union, the United States, Japan, Brazil, Colombia, Turkey, Switzerland, Sweden, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Costa Rica
Location: Conference Room 1, United Nations Headquarters, New York
Date: 30 July 2014
Written By WIT Representative: Samantha Kong
Edited By: Marli Kasdan