(11 May 2012) More than 150 representatives of the member States of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) adopted today, in Costa Rica, the San José Charter on the rights of older persons.
The document is the final outcome of the Third Regional Intergovernmental Conference on Ageing in Latin America and the Caribbean, held from 8-11 May in the capital of Costa Rica, organized by the Government of the country and ECLAC.
In the San José Charter, government representatives also reaffirmed their commitment expressed in the Brasilia Declaration to spare no effort to promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all older persons, to work to eradicate all forms of discrimination and violence and to create networks for the protection of older persons with a view to the effective exercise of their rights.
Together with supporting the work of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing and the Working Group of the Organization of American States, delegates urged considering the feasibility of both an international and an inter-American convention on the rights of older persons and the possibility to appoint a special rapporteur responsible for the promotion and protection of the human rights of this age group.
Likewise, they committed to strengthening the protection of the rights of older persons by means of a differentiated and preferential treatment, as well as the endorsement of special protection laws, priority attention to older persons in administrative and judicial procedures, and in benefits provided by the State.
They will also seek to make public policies and programmes designed to raise awareness of the rights of older persons and their participation in civil society organizations and in councils.
Countries also agreed to improve social protection systems so that they effectively meet the needs of older persons by fostering the universalization of the right to social security and health, as well as the creation of social services for providing them with health care, whilst promoting their independence, autonomy and dignity.
In the Charter, delegates especially highlighted the obligations of States to eradicate the multiple forms of discrimination which affect older persons, with particular emphasis on gender-based discrimination, and on delivering priority and preferential attention to older persons in emergency situations and following natural disasters.
Country representatives decided to rename the conference, which will henceforth be called the Regional Intergovernmental Conference on Ageing and the Rights of Older Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean. Delegates also commended the Government of Costa Rica for its invaluable contribution to this Third Conference.
Finally, it was resolved that the San José Charter constitutes the contribution of Latin America and the Caribbean to the fifty-first session of the Commission for Social Development of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, which will be held in February 2013.
For more information on the Conference, please visit ECLAC's website.
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