Press Release

IACHR Welcomes El Salvador’s Accession to the Inter-American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons

May 29, 2018

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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes El Salvador’s accession, on April 18, 2018, to the Inter-American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons. Accession made El Salvador the sixth country to ratify the Inter-American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons, which the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) approved in June 2015 and which went into force on January 11, 2017.

Other countries who have ratified the Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons are Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica and Uruguay. Commissioner Flavia Piovesan, who is in charge of the Unit on the Rights of Older Persons, highlighted “the importance of El Salvador’s accession to this Convention and the need for other countries in the region to make progress in protecting older persons by ratifying that instrument, the first in the world on the issue, which holds a series of comprehensive obligations at different levels to ensure the rights of older persons, approaching aging from the perspective of human rights.”

The Inter-American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons reaffirms States’ commitment to removing age-related barriers and enforcing the equality principle in the region. That instrument defines and imposes obligations and rights in terms of a dignified life, health, independence and autonomy, community integration, protection from all forms of violence, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, liberty and personal security, social security, access to work and access to information, education and culture, among other rights and duties, which involve acknowledging the duty to grant special protection to older persons.

The Commission believes that, given the different contexts and problems faced by older persons in the region, it is essential for States to move towards recognizing and protecting the rights of those persons. The IACHR therefore calls on other States in the region to take any measures necessary to ratify this Convention, as evidence of their commitment to fighting violence and discrimination against older persons.
“The Commission hopes El Salvador’s ratification of the Convention will promote the adoption of measures at the national level to ensure that older persons have access to the rights enshrined in the Convention, particularly the rights to a dignified life, to health, to independence and autonomy, and to integration in community life,” said IACHR President and Rapporteur for El Salvador, Commissioner Margarette Macaulay.

Finally, in line with the contents of its Strategic Plan 2017-2021, the Commission created a Unit on the Rights of Older Persons, in order to ensure greater attention for the problems of older persons in the region. “In particular, the IACHR seeks to promote, protect and ensure the full recognition, enjoyment and exercise of all the human rights and fundamental freedoms of older persons, on an equal footing, to contribute to their full inclusion, integration and participation in society. Right now, the Unit is drafting a work schedule to address issues such as legislative frameworks and programs to prevent abuse, abandonment, neglect, mistreatment and violence against older persons, along with the need for additional mechanisms to protect those persons’ human rights and their fundamental freedoms,” said the IACHR Executive Secretary, Paulo Abrão. Based on the above, and to follow up on the Regional Consultation conducted on October 24, 2017 on this issue, the IACHR plans to hold sub regional consultations at a date that will be announced soon.

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 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.

No. 120/18