November 5, 2009 - Why we need a UN Convention and a Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Older Persons

Summary: "Why we need a UN Convention and a Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Older Persons".

Susanne Paul, President of Global Action on Aging and Chair of the NGO Committee on Ageings Subcommittee to Promote a Human Rights Convention, organized the program around the following questions:

  • What is a human right?
  • What is a Convention?
  • Why is a Convention on the Rights of Older Persons needed?
  • What are the documents that support a claim to human rights of older persons?
  • What is the process for a Human Rights Convention?

Attendees split into 4 smaller groups to consider these questions. Written materials on the topic produced by the Pan American Health Organization, HelpAge International and Global Action on Aging were distributed to the groups. (Copies of the materials may be obtained by contacting Susanne Paul at or These resources gave participants the basic elements to teach others about a Human Rights Convention.

Participants in the small groups reviewed the resources, asked questions, including why a Convention was needed, and debated with the discussion leaders. Most participants said they learned new information about a Convention and wished there had been more time for discussion, reflection or just reading the materials. Without exception, the groups reported that they liked the format and would read and use the materials presented.

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NGO Committee on Ageing • PO Box 1854 • New York, NY • 10163-1854