Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Journal of International Aging, Law & Policy

Despite of its importance, the field of global and international elder law receives relatively limited attention on the academic sphere. Moreover, there aren't many law journals who specialize in this field or publish law journal articles that focus on international and comparative perspectives of elder law.
May be the single law journal in this field which dedicated it self from its origins to promote this field is the Journal of International Aging Law & Policy, based at Stetson University College of Law.

The journal was originally inaugurated in 2005, in cooperation with AARP, and after holding a first-of-its kind international conference on elder law with leading scholars from around the world.

Today, the journal is headed by Prof. Roberta K. Flowers, who is the co-director of the Center for Excellence in Elder Law in Stetson University and Jessica K. Close.

Just to take an example from the Fall 2016 issue, here are some examples of excellent scholarly writings that provide an importance international legal perspective on global elder law:

An article on the topic of: "Adult Guardianship in Taiwan: A Focus on Guardian Financial Decision-Making and the Family’s Role", by Sieh-chuen Huang;

An article on the topic of:  "To be, or not to be: A Global Perspective on Physician-Assisted Suicide", by Jennifer Tindell;

Or an article on the topic of: "Korean Guardianship as a Policy for the Protection of Adults with Impaired Decision-Making Abilities", by Cheol Ung Je.

These are only a few examples of the rich academic and scholarly writings which appear in this excellent law journal. And most importantly, all the article are accessible, free, on line, through the web, at the journal's web-site:

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The right of older persons to dignity and autonomy in care

Dr. Nils Mui┼żnieks, Commissioner for Human Rights for the Council of Europe, has recently published a new comment on "The right of older persons to dignity and autonomy in care".
The comment stresses that within the context of long term care: 
"It is urgent for member states to thoroughly review, with the participation of older persons, their approach to long-term care in order to make it more human rights-based, including in the light of the Revised Social Charter (by accepting Article 23 if they have not yet done so), the 2014 Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers, and the 2017 Resolution of the PACE."
The comment continues to reiterate that:
"In addition to providing the resources such a system requires to be accessible and affordable, states must also take account of the training needs of care professionals, as well as of informal caregivers, and ensure that the choices for older persons are maximised, for example when they wish to live in their home, while preventing social isolation."
Specifically, within the context of the right to palliative care, the comment states that:
The importance of palliative care as an integral part of health services and its denial as a human rights violation are being increasingly recognised at the international level. Special Rapporteurs of the UN on Torture and on Health stated that the denial of pain relief causing severe pain and suffering may amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. 
See the full comment here.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

AGE Platform Europe Older Persons' Self Advocacy Handbook

One thing is to talk about promoting the human rights of older persons.
Another thing is to actually get involved and active in promoting these rights in real world.
One of the most important European (and global) NGOs which actually do ground work with promoting awareness and action in this field is AGA Platform Europe.
Here is its press release on the topic as well as the link to the handbook:

On 10 December, (2017) AGE launches the full version of its online 'Older Persons' Self-Advocacy Handbook', which empowers older people to better know their human rights and to claim them.
With this handbook, we aims to support the involvement of older persons in all processes that affect their human rights at the United Nations, Council of Europe and European Union levels. This publication describes concrete ways on how older people can refer to human rights to influence government policies and measures, so as to be empowered, as self-advocates and through their representative organisations, to voice their concerns and expectations and drive positive change in their everyday lives. It can also be used by different stakeholders, promotes a human-rights based approach in ageing policy at all levels.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

ILO World Social Protection Report 2017

In recent days, the ILO - International Labour Organization, has published its new report on "World Social Protection". See:

This important report has a special section regarding the "Social Protection for Older Women and Men".
Here are the key messages of this report regarding older persons:

Pensions for older women and men are the most widespread form of social protection in the world, and a key element in SDG 1.3. At the global level, 68 per cent of people above retirement age receive a pension, either contributory or non-contributory.

Significant progress has been made in extending pension system coverage in developing countries. Universal pensions have been developed in Argentina, Belarus, the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Botswana, Cabo Verde, China, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Maldives, Mauritius, Mongolia, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan and Zanzibar (United Republic of Tanzania). Other developing countries, such as Azerbaijan, Armenia, Brazil, Chile, Kazakhstan and Thailand, are near universality.

However, the right to social protection of older persons is not yet a reality for many. In most low-income countries, less than 20 per cent of older persons over statutory retirement age receive a pension. In many developing countries, a large proportion of older persons still depend heavily on family support arrangements.

Observed trends vary substantially across regions and even between countries within the same region. In countries with comprehensive and mature systems of social protection, with ageing populations, the main challenge is to maintain a good balance between financial sustainability and pension adequacy. At the other extreme, many countries around the world are still struggling to extend and finance their pension systems; these countries face structural barriers linked to development, high levels of informality, low contributory capacity, poverty and insufficient fiscal space, among others.

A noticeable trend in developing countries is the proliferation of non-contributory pensions, including universal social pensions. This is very positive, particularly in countries with high levels of informality, facing difficulties in extending contributory schemes. Trends show that many countries are succeeding in introducing a universal floor of income security for older persons.

Public schemes, based on solidarity and collective financing, are by far the most widespread form of old-age protection globally. Pension privatization policies, implemented in the past in a number of countries, did not deliver the expected results, as coverage and benefits did not increase, systemic risks were transferred to individuals and fiscal positions worsened. As a result, a number of countries are reversing privatization measures and returning to public solidarity-based systems.

Recent austerity or fiscal consolidation trends are affecting the adequacy of pension systems and general conditions of retirement. In several countries, these reforms are putting at risk the fulfilment of the minimum standards in social security, and eroding the social contract. Countries should be cautious when designing reforms to ensure that pension systems fulfil their mission of providing economic security to older persons.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

WHO - World Health Organization 13th General Programme of Work - Need for Action

Spreading the call from action received from IFA - the International Federation on Aging:
The World Health Organization has just published its draft of the 13th General Programme of Work (GPW13) (see attached). 
 It is shocking to note that ‘ageing’ does not factor in the draft and unless there are strong voices from NGOs, academics and member states in the field stating that this is unacceptable any progress which has been made in the recent past will dwindle once again. 
It is strongly recommended that as many organisations / experts / interested people in this field write to register their strongest possible concern in a succinct way  IFA is reaching out far and wide and would appreciate efforts through your networks – we must stand together!
Detailed feedback is not what is needed but rather many leading voices noting that the total absence of work on ageing considering the incredible demographic shift is absolutely unacceptable and will impact current and future generations
Comments must be in by 15th November


Monday, October 23, 2017

MIPAA 3rd Review and Appraisal - Lisbon Ministerial Conference on Ageing - September 2017

MIPAA, the Madrid International Plan of Action on Aging of 2002, which was adopted by the 2nd World Assembly on Ageing, is still the leading policy document in the field of aging - on the global level.
Unlike VIPAA, the Vienna plan of action of 1982, MIPAA introduced a review and appraisal process in order to follow up its implementation evaluate its impact. The first review of MIPAA concluded in 2008, and the second review concluded in 2013.
In 2015 the third review started and it will be concluded in 2018.
During the month of September this year a Ministerial Conference on Ageing: A Sustainable Society for All Ages: Realizing the Potential of Living Longer - in Lisbon, Portugal.
This meeting was very constructive and with various documents submitted and produced, including NGOs forum and declarations.
Here is the link to the Ministerial Declaration
This is yet another development  - slow - but yet dynamic movement which eventually will mature to a new convention for human rights of older persons.....

Friday, October 6, 2017

IOPHRI - International Human Rights Index for Older Persons

Since the nineteenth century, the world’s population of older persons has increased dramatically. Older persons now comprise nearly twenty percent of the world’s population, and will likely comprise nearly thirty percent of it by 2040. Because of this increase, there has been a surge of interest in the development of Composite Indicators aimed at measuring the well-being of older persons. However, there has not yet been an effort to create an index that attempts to measure, compare, and evaluate the rights of older persons on a global-scale. In a recent Article, Professor Doron and Dr. Spanier justify the need for, and the process of developing, an index which looks at these rights. Their index is to be named the International Older Persons’ Human Rights Index, or “IOPHRI”, and it will be the first of its kind.
For the full text of the article and index and for a real life example of the operation of this index see the following link: