IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the State of Suriname's decision to join the Inter-American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons. By depositing its ratification instrument on May 8, Suriname became the eleventh Member State of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the first Caribbean country to become a party to this Convention.
The population of Latin America and the Caribbean is clearly getting older. According to estimates made by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), older persons will amount to 25.1% of the region's total population by 2050. At an estimated 193 million people, there will be 2.1 times more older people in 2050 than in 2022, when there were an estimated 88.6 million, ECLAC noted.
The Convention on older persons is the first international treaty to have specifically addressed the human rights of this soaring group. Among its main features, the Convention entails a paradigm shift concerning old age. This change involves acknowledging older persons as subjects of rights for whom States must ensure access to services and care, to enable autonomous, dignified living that is free from violence and discrimination.
The Convention requires that States adapt their national standards to the new applicable inter-American standards, particularly concerning issues like legal capacity and informed consent, so older persons can authentically exercise their human rights without restrictions based on ageist prejudice. The Convention also calls for a review of the scope and coverage of national protection systems.
In this context, the IACHR reminds Member States of the OAS of the importance of a universal ratification of the Convention on older persons. The Commission stresses its willingness to provide technical assistance to States Party to help them implement this instrument.
A principal, autonomous body of the OAS, the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.