RI Global From the Field: 5th Session of the Open-ended Working Group on Aging

31 July 2014

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RI Global: Office of Communications

Contact: Adrian Brune, +1 347-759-9501

On 30 July 2014, Rehabilitation International attended the 5th Session of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing at UN Headquarters in New York.

Aging and disability often go hand in hand, and as such it is important for the disability community to join forces with organizations advocating for the rights of older persons. While each group has unique concerns, it is important to recognize the issues we share in an effort to ensure an inclusive world for all.

The Working Group session included speeches by distinguished representatives from many countries around the world, who spoke of the importance of supporting the rights of older persons in their home countries and on an international level.

While some dignitaries supported the idea of an international instrument to protect these rights, others mentioned the other tools currently in place that can be used to support older persons, such as the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Some said discussions about an international instrument were premature, pending research from Rosita Kornfeld-Matte of Chile, Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of All Human Rights by Older Persons as recognized by the United Nations Human Rights Council.

“The human rights of older persons… are the rights of all of us,” said United States representative Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Many representatives explained the demographic shifts happening in their home countries. Japan’s representative mentioned his country had the most rapidly aging population in the world, and the representative from India explained that by 2050, over 300 million people in India will be above 60 years old. In Brazil, it was said that over 20% of the population will be over 60 years old by 2050.

Rehabilitation International believes efforts towards a more inclusive world are crucial to development. In post-2015 plans and beyond, vulnerable populations should be both recognized and supported, with frameworks for increased accessibility, protection, and inclusion in all countries of the world.

Learn more about the 5th Session of the Open-ended Working Group on Aging.


RI Global: Founded in 1922, Rehabilitation International (RI Global) is a worldwide network promoting the rights and inclusions of persons with disabilities (PwDs) through advocacy, habilitation and rehabilitation to achieve an inclusive world in which all people can enjoy full human rights.

Join us at the 2016 RI Global World Congress: riworldcongress.com

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