UN meeting on aged ends
Nana Oye Lithur, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, making a statement on behalf of Ghana at the meeting

UN meeting on aged ends

The United Nations (UN) Open-ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG) ended their seventh meeting in New York without a firm decision on an international convention to address issues on ageing.

Although the UN independent expert on the Human Rights Council on Enjoyment of all Human Rights by Older Persons, Ms Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, in her report to the meeting, proposed the need for a new convention that would take care of the aged, some countries, including the United States of America (USA), opposed such a convention.

The result was that the meeting could not make any concrete recommendations for such a convention.

The OEWG was established by the UN General Assembly to consider the existing international framework of the human rights of older people and identify possible gaps and how best to address them.

Ghana’s delegation to the meeting was led by the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, who also made a statement, calling for specific standards on the rights of older people for countries to adopt.

Ageing population

According to a report by Ms Kornfeld-Matte, older people represented a large and the fastest-growing segment of global population.

The number of older people is projected to more than double from 900 million in 2016 to nearly two billion in 2050.

The UN’s independent expert argued that as the world’s population continued to age, the human rights dimension of ageing would become an ever-growing concern.

Therefore, it was essential that an analytical approach, which was all encompassing and would embrace the full set of human rights, economic, social and cultural rights, as well as civil and political rights, was adopted.

Independent expert

Ms Kornfeld-Matte, therefore, called on member states to step up their efforts to determine the best way to strengthen the protection of the human rights of older people and to consider the various proposals that had been made, notably the elaboration of a convention on the rights of older people.

She expressed the hope that the working group would in due course present to the UN General Assembly a proposal containing the main elements that should be included in an international legal instrument to promote and protect the rights and dignity of older people, which were not currently addressed sufficiently by existing mechanisms.

The report said considering that there was unanimity about the need to strengthen the protection of the human rights of older people, existing divergences must urgently be overcome, given the millions of older people waiting for their human rights to become a reality.

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