Inter-American Convention on the Rights of Older Persons

In 2015, the OAS member states approved the Inter-American Convention on the Protection of the Human Rights of Older Persons in order to promote, protect, and ensure the recognition and full enjoyment and exercise, under conditions of equality, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of the elderly, in order to contribute to their full inclusion, integration, and participation in society. The Convention, among other rights, establishes the right to care for the elderly, the need to incorporate and give priority to the issue of aging in public policies, the importance of facilitating the formulation and compliance with laws and programs for the prevention of abuse, abandonment, neglect, mistreatment, and violence against the elderly, and the need to have national mechanisms that protect their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Convention is the first regional instrument that specifically protects the rights of older people. To date, 6 countries in the region have ratified the Convention - Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, and Uruguay. The Convention has been in force since January 11, 2017, and provides for an integrated follow-up mechanism composed of a Conference of States Parties and a Committee of Experts, which will be established once the tenth instrument of accession or ratification has been received.

Between 2013 and 2015, the IACHR participated in efforts to create the Inter-American Convention on the Protection of the Human Rights of Older Persons. In this sense, the Commission collaborated from the legal study of a draft of the Convention. In 2013, it presented this report to the OAS Permanent Council, in which it reflected considerations on the protection of the elderly, so that the Working Group on the Protection of the Human Rights of Older Persons could count on inter-American standards. and the IACHR perspective, as inputs for the elaboration of the Convention.

The Convention entered into force on January 11, 2017. There are seven States parties to the Convention.

The IACHR, in its communiqué 268/18, recognizes that the full validity of all the rights, guarantees and mechanisms provided for in the instrument is of fundamental importance for the protection of the human rights of older persons in the region and urges all States OAS members to sign and ratify the Convention for the Protection of the Rights of Older Persons, as part of efforts to universalize the inter-American human rights system, in such a way that all treaties and conventions protect all persons from the region.

See signatory states and state parties

Pandemic Resolution and Human Rights in the Americas

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) adopted Resolution No. 01/20 Pandemic and Human Rights in the Americas on April 10, 2020, in the face of the unprecedented global health emergency facing the Americas and the world, caused by the rapid spread global virus COVID-19.

In the special section of recommendations it refers specifically to older people in order to ensure respect for them as full subjects of law, in accordance with human rights standards, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, making the following recommendations:

  1. Adopt the necessary measures in order to avoid infections, prioritize medical care, and avoid aging, guaranteeing the right to give consent in the field of health and facilitating means of family contact.
  2. Guarantee their access to public services and essential goods with a differential and preferential treatment for older people, identifying and eliminating obstacles, and addressing the digital divide.
  3. Strengthen supervision and vigilance measures to avoid violence and neglect against older people.
  4. Ratify or adhere to the Inter-American Convention for the Protection of the Rights of Older Persons.