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December 01, 2013

2013 Overview: International Human Rights of Older Persons

(Note: The pdf for the issue in which this article appears is available for download: BIFOCAL Vol. 35, Issue 2.)

In carrying out the ABA policy adopted in 2011 that supports the efforts of the United Nations to strengthen the human rights of older persons, the Commission has participated in the annual August meetings of the U.N. Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing in 2012 and 2013 through our liaison Bill Pope. The Working Group has engaged in extensive inquiry and debate about whether the U.N. should pursue a separate convention on the rights of older persons; or instead, seek to strengthen the enforcement of existing international normative standards as they may apply to older persons.  

The Commission has spoken on an expert panel of the Working Group, submitted written comments, and participated in Working Group discussions on matters related to access to justice, wherein our Commission has become persuaded of the need for a new convention. The future work of the Working Group is uncertain at this point, but the Commission is seeking to expand the involvement of the legal profession in their future work.

At the same time, the Commission has monitored the efforts of the Organization of American States, which has been moving ahead with efforts to draft a free-standing OAS convention on the rights of older persons. ■