Thursday, September 27, 2012

UN OEWG - Open Ended Working Group: The Chair's Summary

The United Nations General Assembly created an Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) on Ageing in December 2010 to consider existing international framework on human rights of older persons, and identify possible gaps and how best to address them, including by considering, as appropriate, the feasibility of further instruments and measures.

Between August 21-24 the 3rd meeting of the OEWG - Open Ended Working Group of the UN for the purpose of strengthening the human rights of older persons was convened in New York.
The Chair of the group has published the summary of this meeting.
Here is the link to the full summary:

Here are the closing remarks of the chair:

IV. Closing Remarks by Chair

In his closing remarks, the Chair summarized important themes and discussions addressed during the interactive panel sessions. He highlighted several proposals and suggestions that were put forward by Member States and civil society organisations.

The Chair stated that it was evident, that Member States continue to be interested in strengthening the protection of the human rights of older persons. In appreciating the opportunity to exchange views on ways to address this topic, the Chair noted diverging opinions that had emerged during the debate. Certain Member States felt strongly that the human rights of older persons are protected by existing instruments, and that focus should be placed on implementation through improved legal frameworks and building on existing national, regional and international instruments, with the understanding that the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA) is sufficient to protect the human rights of older persons.

The Chair noted that some Member States focused their statements on development and the need to ensure a more comprehensive protection of the human rights of older persons. Others stated that existing treaty bodies are already constrained with heavy workload and limited timelines, and therefore, could not be further burdened with the responsibility of addressing the human rights of older persons. Some Member States suggested calling upon existing United Nations Rapporteurs, while others recommended asking for special procedures from the Human Rights Council to seek recommendations on how to better protect and promote the human rights of older persons. The Chair also noted that certain Member States, as well as civil society organisations, called for the drafting of a new international instrument; a United Nations convention on the rights of older persons, to provide a binding treaty that identifies the rights of older persons as well as the obligations of State parties to the convention.

The Chair reassured official delegations and representatives of the civil society that their viewpoints would be reflected and taken into account. He emphasised the importance of the Open-ended Working Group in that regard, as well as the need to renew its mandate to continue to explore and deliberate on options for more commonly acceptable solutions to protect and promote the enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by older persons without discrimination.

Having stated that, the Chair proposed that the future course of action on this issue be left for the Third Committee to decide at the forthcoming sixty-seventh session of the General Assembly.