On Friday, August 1st, 2014, member states met in the General Assembly to discuss ways to strengthen the rights of older persons through enhanced implementation of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA). Ms. Rosita Kornfeld-Matte, the Independent Expert of the Enjoyment of all Human Rights by Older Persons, led the discussion and answered various member states’ and NGOs’ questions and enquiries. Throughout her speeches, Ms. Kornfeld-Matte emphasized that it is not possible to do everything that needs to be done with regard to ageing in just three years. However, this does not mean actions should not be taken to defend the rights of older persons, women, disabled persons, and children. She promised that her organization will work with people to help vulnerable individuals. Many member states, including Uruguay, believe that there should be more binding aspects of MIPAA, as opposed to its current nonbinding properties. In their eyes, a binding mechanism will make it possible to generate an international standard for the treatment and rights of older persons. Many also believe that NGOs play an extremely crucial role in the area of older persons’ rights. This is because NGOs are the ones who tell member states what needs to be done, while working with and maintaining close contact with older persons. However, it was emphasized that member states need to be careful about working jointly with NGOs without paying close attention to the needs of older persons. According to member states, visibility of older persons is not nearly enough. The agenda also needs to include the right for people to be as autonomous as possible until the very end of their lives. Preventive measures need to be taken so that people are not forced to live in nursing homes. The passion for older persons’ rights, as well as the motivation to work with all member states in achieving consensus on the “ageing” issue, were evident during this meeting. There were also a lot of questions asked and points made by NGO representatives, portraying the significance of civil society engagement in this issue.
Meeting: Open-ended Working Group on Ageing – Fifth Working Session
Date: Friday, August 1st, 2014
Time: 10:00 to 13:00
Location: Conference Room 1 (CB), UN Headquarters, New York
Speakers: Ms. Rosita Kornfeld-Matte, the Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of all Human Rights by Older Persons; Ms. Monica Roqué, Chair and Rapporteur of the 2014 Human Rights Council Social Forum; Representative of Costa Rica; Representative of Uruguay; Representative of China; Representative of the European Union; Representative of El Salvador; Representative of Brasil; Representative of Mexico; Representative of Chile; Representative of National Association of the Community of Central Australia (NGO); Representative of High Age International (NGO); Representative of the Grey Panthers (NGO)
Written by WIT Representative: Suzy Hallak