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On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, IACHR Announces Launch of New Section of its Website for the Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Older People

June 15, 2020

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Washington, D.C. - On the occasion of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announced the launch of a new section of its website for the Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Older People.

Protecting the human rights of older people from abuse is a challenge facing the entire region. Older people are currently at even greater risk of abuse and neglect due to the social isolation measures that have been put in place to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. In Resolution 1/20, Pandemics and Human Rights, the IACHR recommended that states in the region strengthen monitoring and surveillance measures regarding violence against older people, be this within the family or in long-term care facilities, hospitals, or prisons by facilitating access to reporting mechanisms. The IACHR also noted that particular attention should be paid to groups of older people who suffer multiple impacts of violence, such as women, indigenous people, people of African descent, LGBTI people, people who are deprived of their freedom, migrants, or people with disabilities, for whom states should implement plans, programs, and policies that include an intersectional approach and the gender perspective.

To mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the IACHR is launching a website for the Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Older People. This office was created in March 2017 to expand and deepen the existing institutional framework for monitoring the rights of older people. It has a mandate to promote, protect, and guarantee the recognition of the human rights of older people in the region, as full subjects of the law. This includes preventing discrimination against older people on the basis of age or ageism and preventing intersectional discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnic or racial backgrounds, disability, poverty, extreme poverty or social marginalization, nationality, religion, the deprivation of freedom, migration status, or statelessness.

This includes promoting the ratification and implementation of the Inter-American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons, which was approved by the General Assembly on June 15, 2015, as part of efforts to expand the reach of the inter-American system of human rights and ensure that treaties and conventions protect all people in the Americas. To date, seven countries have ratified this convention: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, and Uruguay.One of the objectives of the new website is to host a repository of information on the rights of older people in order to raise the visibility of this sector of the population through the IACHR’s mechanisms and contribute to promoting and defending their human rights.

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. 137/20