IACHR

Press Release

IACHR Welcomes Approval of the Convention on Protecting the Rights of Older Persons

June 22, 2015

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María Isabel Rivero
IACHR Press and Communication Director
Tel: +1 (202) 370-9001
mrivero@oas.org

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the approval of the Inter-American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons, the first regional instrument for the promotion, protection, and recognition of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of older persons. The Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS) approved the Convention on June 15, 2015, during the OAS General Assembly, and it was signed by the States of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, and Uruguay.

As the Convention itself states, its purpose is “to promote, protect and ensure the recognition and the full enjoyment and exercise, on an equal basis, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of older persons, in order to contribute to their full inclusion, integration, and participation in society.” It also establishes that persons may submit complaints to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights alleging violations of the human rights recognized in that instrument.

In Article 36, the new Convention indicates that States Parties may consult the IACHR on questions related to the effective application of the Convention, as well as seek the Commission’s advisory assistance and technical cooperation to ensure effective application of any provisions established in the Convention.

“We welcome this important and historic step,” said the President of the IACHR, Commissioner Rose-Marie Antoine. “The OAS has set an example for the world with the approval of the first regional instrument that specifically protects the rights of older persons. The Inter-American Commission welcomes the recognition of a wide range of rights in this Convention, as well as the mandate to process petitions and provide advisory assistance and technical cooperation to the States in this area.”

The States Parties also agree to adopt measures to foster a positive attitude toward old age and dignified, respectful, and considerate treatment of older persons, and, based on a culture of peace, encourage actions to disseminate and promote the rights and empowerment of older persons, and avoid stereotypical images and language in relation to old age. They also commit to promote recognition of the experience, wisdom, productivity, and contribution to development that older persons offer society as a whole.

For the Convention to enter into force, at least two of the signatory countries must ratify it. The IACHR urges all OAS Member States to sign and ratify this Convention, as part of efforts to universalize the inter-American human rights system so that all treaties and conventions protect the inhabitants of all countries in the Organization.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (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 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.

No. 072/15