Rights of Older Persons


  • The 14th session of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWGA) will take place 20-24 May 2024 (with 23 May as an off-day).  https://social.un.org/ageing-working-group/fourteenthsession.shtml

    • The Co-Facilitators, Brazil and Portugal, appointed by the OEWGA Chair, will be submitting intergovernmental negotiated recommendations to OEWGA regarding the existing international framework of the human rights of older persons and possible gaps and options on how best to address them.  
    • GAROP (Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People) has prepared a briefing on different human rights options to facilitate discussions.  See here.
    • To review responses to the questionnaire that was sent by the Co-Facilitators to solicit views on options to address possible gaps in the international human rights framework, access the OEWGA website:  https://social.un.org/ageing-working-group/intersessional_responses.shtml
    • Guiding questions will also be issued to Member States, NHRIs and NGOs for submissions to address the last two “focus areas” also to be discussed by the OEWGA, namely accessibility, infrastructure and habitat (transport, housing and access); and participation in the public life and in decision-making processes.

* Petition to protect the rights of older persons:https://rightsofolderpeople.org/age-with-rights-petition/.

The NGO Committee on Ageing is committed to protecting and promoting the rights of older persons everywhere, irrespective of their economic and social situation.  It does so by encouraging and facilitating its members to advocate for older persons in a number of ways:

  • Participating (those that have ECOSOC consultative status) in intergovernmental meetings at the United Nations, by making statements, oral and written, to call attention to the concerns of older persons, ensuring their visibility and inclusion in intergovernmental recommendations for action;
  • Participating in side and parallel events that are organized during intergovernmental meetings, usually by other NGOs, to ensure that the concerns of older persons are fully recognized and where actions can be taken;
  • Networking with NGOs that focus on other issues (women, persons with disabilities, youth, migrants, human rights, health, education, employment, social protection, environment, sustainable development, etc. etc.) to ensure that older persons are included in their recommendations for action;
  • Joining the Stakeholder Group on Ageing (SGA), established for ensuring the inclusion of older persons in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (https://www.stakeholdergrouponageing.org/)  The NGO COA is a member of the SGA.
  • Joining the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People (GAROP) whose mission is to support and enhance civil society’s engagement at national, regional and international levels on the need for a new international instrument on the rights of older persons:  (https://rightsofolderpeople.org/mission-vision-values/).  (The NGO COA is an ex officio member of GAROP’s Steering Group.)

* * * * *

The NGO COA is deeply involved in the work of the United Nations Open-ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWGA) which meets annually to discuss the feasibility of an international legal instrument to protect the rights of older persons.  The NGO COA Subcommittee to Promote a Human Rights Convention for Older Persons, in its advocacy activities, works closely with:

Open-Ended Working Group On Ageing

The Open-ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWGA), was established by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 65/182 in 2010 to consider “the existing international framework of the human rights of older persons and identifying possible gaps and how best to address them, including by considering, as appropriate, the feasibility of further instruments and measures”.

In 2013, the Human Rights Council decided to appoint an independent expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons (HRC resolution 24/20).  The first Independent Expert was Ms. Rosa Kornfeld-Matte.  The second Independent Expert, Ms. Claudia Mahler, assumed her duties in May 2020; her mandate was renewed by the Human Rights Council in 2022 for an additional three years (https://undocs.org/A/HRC/RES/51/4).

Additional information, United Nations website:  https://social.un.org/ageing-working-group/

Background Material - here

  1. Why we need a convention to promote and protect the rights of older persons.
  2.  GAROP briefing on different human rights instruments for consideration as options to address gaps in the existing  international framework of the human rights of older persons.
  3. Brief background notes on the work of the OEWGA. (updated January 2024)              
  4. A new convention on the rights of older people: a concrete proposal. (HelpAge International)
  5. Strengthening Older People’s Rights: Towards a UN Convention, a resource for promoting dialogue on creating a new UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons, June 2010

Reports of the OEWGA:

2023: https://undocs.org/A/AC.278/2023/2

2022: https://undocs.org/A/AC.278/2022/2

2021: https://undocs.org/A/AC.278/2021/2

2019: https://undocs.org/A/AC.278/2019/2

2018: https://undocs.org/A/AC.278/2018/2 

2017: http://undocs.org/A/AC.278/2017/2

2016: http://undocs.org/A/AC.278/2016/2

2015: http://undocs.org/A/AC.278/2015/2

2014: http://undocs.org/A/AC.278/2014/2

2013: http://undocs.org/A/AC.278/2013/2

2012: http://undocs.org/A/AC.278/2012/1

2011: http://undocs.org/A/AC.278/2011/4

2011: http://undocs.org/A/AC.278/2011/5

Additional information on third session of the OEWGA

Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons

The Human Rights Council, in its resolution A/HRC/RES/24/20 of 27 September 2013 appointed an independent expert  on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons for three years.  The first Independent Expert was Ms. Rosa Kornfeld-Matte (Chile), whose term was extended for an additional three years, to 2019 (A/HRC/RES/33/5 of 29 September 2016).  The Human Rights Council, in its resolution A/HRC/RES/42/12 of 26 September 2019, extended the mandate with the appointment of Ms. Claudia Mahler (Germany) for three years.


Claudia Mahler was appointed by the Human Rights Council in 2020 as the Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of  all Human Rights by Old  Persons and spoke at the NGO Committee on Ageing/NY on 4 May providing her reflections on the 13th Open Ended Working Group on Aging. View video presentation here.

Claudia’s slide presentation is available here.

Reports of the Independent Expert:

Reports on Country visits


  • Bangladesh, Dominican Republic, Nigeria, 2023
  • Finland, 2021
  • New Zealand, China, 2020  
  • Mozambique, Uruguay,  2019
  • Montenegro, Georgia, 2018
  • Namibia, 2017
  • Singapore, Costa Rica, 2016
  • Mauritius, Austria, 2015
  • Slovenia, 2014

Regional Legal Instruments

Inter-American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons, June 2015. Download Document Here...

Protocol to the Africa Charter on Human Rights and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa, January 2016. Download Document Here...

Useful information about the rights of older persons, including advocacy guidelines, toolkits, etc.

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