Talking about the Human Rights of Older Persons

작성자 admin 시간 2024-04-03 09:21:40
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The 15th event of ‘Talking about the Human Rights of Older Persons’ took place in the form of online roundtable meeting with the members of the AGAC Global Advisory Group. AGAC Global Advisory Group consists of five members that represent Europe, Asia and North America, as well as academia, civil society, think-tanks and the medical professions. The list of AGAC Global Advisory Group members can be found through this link: 아셈노인인권정책센터 (


This is a summary of the meeting held on March 28th, that Dr. Debanjan Banerjee (Consultant Geriatric Psychiatrist, Apollo Multispecialty Hospitals, Koltaka, India), Prof. Thanh Long Giang (National Economics University, Vietnam), Prof. Titti Mattsson (Lund University, Sweden) and Dr. Kai Leichsenring (Executive Director, European Center for Social Welfare Policy and Research, Austria) and Ms. Margaret Young (Chairperson, Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People(GAROP) and Founder, Age Knowble, Canada) took part in. From AGAC, Dr. Hye-Kyung Lee, the Executive Director, and Dr. Geun Koh, the Team Lead, took part. During the meeting, all 5 participants talked about their recent involvement in (research) activities and shared their views on notable developments and trends relating to the rights of older persons.

Dr. Lee first welcomed and expressed her thanks to the participants for joining the AGAC Advisory Group as well as for their great contributions to the Center’s various projects for the last years. After Dr. Lee’s remark, Dr. Koh introduced the main activities of the Center and its achievements in 2023, from policy research and hosting the ASEM Forum on the Human Rights of Older Persons: Present and Future to its periodical Special Edition on “the Framework Act pm the Human Rights of Older Persons in Korea: Its Necessity and the Legislative Draft.”

By outlining the primary activities of AGAC and sharing the current research and professional engagement of each advisor, alongside their insights into global trends, this Roundtable has proven very significant. We anticipate that it has fostered mutual understanding among advisors, and provided foundational basis for us to seek tailored advice and consultations on AGACs operation, and thereby enhancing collaboration and facilitating informed decision-making. 

Dr. Debanjan Banerjee (Consultant Geriatric Psychiatrist, Apollo Multispecialty Hospitals, 

Koltaka, India)

Dr. Banerjee is also the Co-Chair of Advocacy and Public Awareness Committee, International Psychogeriatric Association (IPA). He shares updates from India on the demographic transition and a longitudinal study on older persons, including their socio-economic status, social work benefits, and human rights (Longitudinal Ageing Study in India, LASI). With its first wave of LASI, it surveyed 80,000 individuals aged 60+ across India and found that the major problems faced by elderly people are basically related to marginalization, no access to medication, lack of security and no regular source of income because Social Security benefits are often not availed or people are not aware about the same. The second wave of LASI is being conducted and hopefully it'll have the data ready by the first quarter of the next year.

One of the notable news from India he shared with us is that the in India there will be upcoming national elections from next month onwards, and the Election Commission of India for the first time has allowed vote from home for senior citizens or above the age of 70 years. He’s using the term senior citizens here because that's how it's mentioned in the law and thinks this is a massive and a major change because of a statement signed.

Prof. Thanh Long Giang (National Economics University, Vietnam)

He gratefully suggests a couple of ideas on issues and themes of AGAC’s future programmes and shows interests in participating in them and collaborating with AGAC continuously.

Prof. Giang introduces his involvement as the Principal Investigator (PI) in the National Survey on Older Adults (aged 50+) in 2019 and 2022. The National Survey was funded by Asian Development Bank (ABD) through Ministry of Health (MOH) in Vietnam. He also briefly mentions about the research with Chulalongkohn University of Thailand conducting comparative study in the ASEAN region like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and to some extent also with high income countries like Singapore and low-income country with like Myanmar and Cambodia and Laos. He emphasizes the importance of evidence-based research on older persons’ rights and adapting to ageing populations, citing the need for large-scale surveys and persuasive advocacy to policymakers. 

He finally notes that in terms of human rights of older persons, emerging issues such as the climate change and migration are identified as crucial and urgent topics for policy development, particularly in countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Cambodia.


Dr. Kai Leichsenring (Executive Director, European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research, Austria)

Dr. Leichsenring expresses gratitude for the opportunity to share insights from their research on ageing and social policy, particularly focusing on countries with developed welfare states. He acknowledges the disparity in discussing aging issues between such countries and those facing significant poverty and elder abuse like India and Vietnam. Rapid aging, turning the population pyramid upside down, is noted as a phenomenon occurring more swiftly in Asia compared to Europe and the US. The speaker advocates for interdisciplinary research to address aging challenges and promote equality, sustainability, and intergenerational fairness. They emphasize the need for institutional changes globally, including the development of welfare states. Challenges such as increasing inequalities and the burden of unpaid work are highlighted, with a call for policies to support lifelong learning and reduce disparities.

In line with these, he introduces the book, A Research Agenda for Ageing and Social Policy, recently published. The book discussed covers topics such as healthy ageing, combating ageism, and promoting active ageing and more. They suggest collaboration on research agendas and exchange of experiences, particularly in areas such as age-friendly environments and intergenerational equity. They mention involvement in various regional and international initiatives related to ageing and long-term care, advocating for inclusive policies and addressing inequalities.


Prof. Titti Mattsson (Lund University, Sweden) 

Prof. Mattsson highlights current human rights issues affecting older persons in Europe, including data privacy concerns and lack of autonomy, mentioning that Europe faces challenges in safeguarding healthcare for ageing population, with competing interests and limited resources.

She begins by expressing gratitude for the opportunity to discuss recent developments and future reports related to human rights issues, particularly concerning older generations in Europe. They highlight the demographic challenge in Europe and the increasing flow of sensitive health data within the EU, emphasizing its implications for older persons' autonomy. The introduction of the new AI Act is mentioned, with ongoing analysis of its impact on privacy and older persons' rights. Prof. Mattsson acknowledges the complexity of digital and AI solutions in elder care and the challenges they pose for older persons' safety and privacy. Prof. Mattsson discusses Sweden's transition to digital systems and the difficulties it presents for older individuals. Privacy concerns regarding health apps and the risks associated with data sharing are addressed, along with the need for stronger regulation in AI development. She also shares insights into ongoing research on AI tools in healthcare and the importance of considering older persons' cognitive abilities and familiarity with technology. she highlights the focus of the new AI Act on product safety but expresses concerns over its limited attention to privacy and consumer protection. She concludes by mentioning the establishment of a new Institute of Human Rights in Sweden in 2022 and she is a board member of it, and the Institute has been working ongoing studies on older persons' human rights, with a focus on elderly care and extensive care needs. She anticipates the publication of these studies after the summer and expresses commitment to promoting human rights in elder care.


Ms. Margaret Young (Chairperson, Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People (GAROP) and Founder, Age Knowble, Canada)

Ms. Young begins by discussing Canada's legal framework, which is rooted in the 1967 Covenants on Social, Economic, and Cultural Rights, emphasizing that Canadian Charter of Rights and the human rights code are based on these covenants but lack specific provisions for older persons' rights. She mentions a national consultation on ageism in 2022 and Canada's involvement in the UN Open Ended Working Group on Ageing since 2023. Within their organization, they focus on older people's social activism, conducting workshops and campaigns centered on human rights and well-being, such as human rights story campaign.

The Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People (GAROP), with over 400 member organizations worldwide, aims to advocate for a UN convention on older people's rights and facilitate capacity-building and grant securing for NGOs. Ms. Young underscores the transformative potential of a UN convention for all generations and encourages participation in global initiatives like the Global Rally summit and the petition for Human Rights of Older People and the UN Convention. The Global Rally summit on April 11th aims to address issues related to human rights of older people, with rallies happening in different countries and a petition launched for support.

Ms. Young highlights the importance of integrating a human rights lens into advocacy, policy-making, and program development efforts to raise awareness and ensure older people's rights are upheld. She emphasizes the need for greater awareness of human rights among older people globally and stresses that poverty, homelessness, and other issues are underpinned by human rights concerns. Finally, Ms. Young encourages support for initiatives promoting older people's rights and the push for a UN convention, noting that human rights are universal and transcend national boundaries.