The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has expressed hopes that the “gaps” in the international human rights system on the rights of older persons would be addressed in the on-going session of the National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) and civil society groups across the globe.
CHR Commissioner Karen Gomez Dumpit said that issues faced by older persons, particularly senior citizens, were sadly excluded in the decision-making process and thus exacerbated their human rights situations.
Citing an example, Dumpit said that during the height of the government-imposed lockdowns last year, older persons were barred from going out and from taking public transport.
These issues are expected to be addressed in the 11th Session of the Open-Ended Working Group on Aging (OEWGA) that started last March 29 and will end on Wednesday, March 31.
“The best way to address these gaps is through the adoption of a convention within the United Nations human rights system that defines the specific rights of older persons and the corresponding obligations of duty-bearers, considering older persons’ lived realities and specific contexts brought about by advanced age,” Dumpit said.
With this “binding instrument,” there will be clear baselines and standards that would help government officials craft better national laws and policies that would benefit seniors, she said.
She also said: “A treaty also creates monitoring, reporting, and accountability mechanisms at the national and international levels. It facilitates the allocation of budget at the national level and the assignment of specific government agencies or units that will focus on the work to ensure the respect, protection, and fulfillment of the rights of older persons,”
For its part, the CHR will fully support the initiative that will ensure that older persons get the respect and protection they deserve, including equality with others, non-discrimination, promotion of their rights and welfare, and access to remedies and justice, she declared.