NHRIs’ critical role in advancing the rights of older persons


17 February 2022 – The Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions in collaboration with its Working Group on Ageing and the Human Rights of Older Persons, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN Human Rights Special Procedures held an online global consultation for NHRIs to discuss NHRI’s engagement opportunities in the promotion and protection of older persons’ human rights. 

With the 12th Session of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWGA) taking place from 11 to 14 April 2022, the consultation provided a unique opportunity to GANHRI members, to learn more about the OEWGA’s work and discuss opportunities for engagement of NHRIs in its work, both individually and collectively through GANHRI. 

NHRIs play a critical role in advancing the rights of older persons, including by presenting credible and relevant information about the situation on the ground to the UN and other international and regional fora, and by promoting implementation on the ground of international norms and standards and relevant recommendations. NHRIs, working collectively through GANHRI, are also well-placed in identifying global trends and gaps and in informing global policy development to address these. 

The consultation enabled exchanges of knowledge and good practice on how to strengthen the expertise of NHRIs to work on the rights of older persons within UN OEWGA and to engage in the work of the HRC and UN Special Procedures, especially with regards to presentations of reports of the UN Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of all human rights by older persons. 

The opening remarks saw the participation of the high-level speakers Ilze Brands Kehris, Assistant-Secretary-General for Human Rights, OHCHR and H.E. María del Carmen Squeff, Ambassador of Argentina to the UN New York and Chair of UN OEWGA.  

Claudia Mahler, The Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, shared information on why NHRIs’ Engagement Matters and called on all NHRIs to actively participate in the upcoming OEWGA session and at HRC Sessions also regarding co-operation with UN Special Procedures. 

The NHRIs of the Philippines, Nigeria and Poland share their know-how with peers during the second panel of the event focused on good examples and experiences of NHRIs’ engagement and advocacy. 

Participating NHRIs have demonstrated their willingness and interest to take an active part in the UN OEWGA and contribute to ways of addressing the existing challenges and, as a result of sustained advocacy from GANHRI to rules and procedures of the OEWGA, allow for broad participation of NHRIs in its work. 

We remind all A status NHRIs that the deadline for registration to the OEWGA is 2 March. The call for inputs has been extended to 22 February. All information can be found here and in the document below.

NHRI consultation – next steps