2013 Overview: International Human Rights of Older Persons

Volume: 35 Issue: 2

(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. ■


Search Bifocal

Portions of the Bifocal archive are available for online search. Use a keyword or other characteristics to search: complete issue PDFs beginning with the Winter 2001 issue (Vol. 22, No. 2), or individual articles in html format beginning with the August 2012 issue (Vol. 33, No. 1).


About Bifocal

Bifocal, the Commission on Law and Aging's bi-monthly journal, provides timely, valuable legal resources pertaining to older persons, generated through the joint efforts of public and private bar groups and the aging network.



The Commission distributes Bifocal for free six times a year to elder bar section and committee members, legal services providers, elder law and other private practitioners, judges, court staff, elder advocates, policymakers, law schools, elder law clinics, law libraries, and other professionals in the law and aging network.

    Subscribe to Bifocal using the Subscription and Discussion Lists form available on the Commission's Contact Us page.



Bifocal invites the submission of news about your elder bar section’s activities, as well as brief articles of interest to elder law and other professionals in the aging advocacy network.

    Share news about your entity’s initiatives towards the delivery of direct legal assistance to older persons in your particular area; pro bono and reduced fee programs; community legal education programs; multi-disciplinary partnerships; and new resources that are helpful to professionals and consumers.

    Also welcome are substantive law articles on legal issues of interest to state area agencies on aging, bar association entities, private attorneys, legal services projects, law schools, and others in the law and aging network.

    Bifocal is published bi-monthly. Email the Commission for manuscript guidelines and deadline information for upcoming issues.


Bifocal Archive

Older issues of Bifocal are archived here.