Day One: Seven Ways to Build Support for a UN Convention on the Rights of Older People

Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, the Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of All Human Rights by Older Persons has now released her report to the Human Rights Council. You can read the report in full here.

In the report, the Independent Expert concludes that older people face particular challenges to their rights. She finds that the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA) and the implementation of existing law are insufficient to provide full protection. The Independent Expert calls on the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG) to fulfil its mandate and present a proposal to the UN General Assembly on the main elements of a new convention.

Over the next few months, UN member states will have a number of important opportunities to discuss how best to protect the rights of older people. This level of activity is rare, and it is essential that governments hear from a broad variety of stakeholders, including citizens like you.

Over the next few days, in cooperation with HelpAge International, we will be posting seven easy steps you can take before the 7th Open-Ended Working Group convenes in December. Please feel free to share this information broadly. We can all do our part to build support for a UN Convention on the Rights of Older People.

Day One: Write to Your Government

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Write immediately to your government about how they can best support the rights of older persons at the Human Rights Council in September. You can use the following template letter, courtesy of HelpAge International, as a starting point:

Dear [Name],

I would like to draw your attention to two important opportunities for the Government to strengthen the protection of the rights of older persons at the forthcoming 33rd Session of theHuman Rights Council.
 
The first opportunity is that the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, Ms. Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, will be presenting her report (A/HRC/33/44) to the Human Rights Council in an interactive dialogue currently scheduled for 14th September 2016.
 
The Independent Expert concludes in her report that older persons face a number of particular challenges in the enjoyment of a wide range of their human rights; that the implementation of existing law raises a set of protection concerns; and that the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing is not sufficient to ensure the full protection of the rights of older persons. The Independent Expert calls on Member States to step up their efforts to determine the best way to strengthen the protection of the human rights of older persons and to consider the elaboration of a new convention on the rights of older persons.
 
The second opportunity at the 33rd Session of the Human Rights Council is the adoption of a resolution on the rights of older persons that both renews the mandate of the Independent Expert for a second term and contributes to the substantive understanding of how human rights standards apply to older persons.We are concerned that the particular experience of older persons is not being sufficiently addressed and understood from a human rights perspective. The Independent Expert could contribute to this in her second term by providing a critical analysis of the extent to which existing international and national laws guarantee the rights of older persons and by identifying the obstacles to the enjoyment of their rights that older persons face within these systems.
 
We therefore urge the Government to instruct their Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva to make a statement during the interactive dialogue on the rights of older persons and to participate constructively in the resolution negotiations.
 
Sincerely,
 
[Your Name]