The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean said that regional countries have reaffirmed their commitment to promote, protect and respect the human rights, dignity and fundamental liberties of older persons.
ECLAC said the commitment was made on Friday, June 30 at the closing of the fourth Regional Intergovernmental Conference on Ageing and the Rights of Older Persons held in Asunción, Paraguay.
At the four-day conference, organized by ECLAC and the government of Paraguay, participating countries unanimously approved the Asunción Declaration, “Building Inclusive Societies: Ageing with dignity and rights,” which ratifies states’ responsibility to guarantee ageing with dignity and rights.
ECLAC said the conference was brought to a close by Paraguay’s Deputy Minister of Public Health, María Teresa Barán; the United Nations Resident Representative in Paraguay, Cecilia Ugaz; and the Director of the Latin American and Caribbean Demographic Center (CELADE) – ECLAC’s Population Division, Paulo Saad.
During her remarks, Barán called on regional countries to continue constructing older persons’ rights with dignity.
She also reaffirmed the work commitment undertaken by her country, which will hold the chairmanship of the Regional Intergovernmental Conference on Ageing and the Rights of Older Persons for the next five years, according to ECLAC.
Ugaz said that the Asunción Declaration marks a “milestone in the progressive scope of the human rights of older persons” and advocated for the document to extend beyond the region to reach others on the planet.
Saad underscored the broad participation by states at the conference and highlighted the participation by members of civil society, “who were provided with ample time to express their diverse interests and needs,” ECLAC said.
The CELADE director also noted that Latin America and the Caribbean have renewed and reinforced their commitment to uphold the rights and dignity of older persons, and ratified ECLAC’s support on the issue of ageing and the rights of older persons.
The Asunción Declaration recognizes “the persistence of difficulties and particular obstacles in the regional context that undermine participation by older persons in political, social, economic and cultural life,” and urges governments to “incorporate cross-cutting plans and development programs on the issue of ageing into their policies and implement specific policies for older persons,” according to ECLAC.
The document also urged regional government to “consider the situation and interests of older persons, incorporating the perspectives of ethnicity, race, gender, disability and generation in the design and execution of national plans and programs to promote the fulfillment of the [United Nations] 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and its 17 goals, the Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development and the Montevideo Strategy for the Implementation of the Regional Gender Agenda.”
At the same time, according to ECLAC, the document calls for specific measures be taken and for existing ones to be adopted further “to combat age-based and multiple discrimination, abandonment, ill treatment and violence against older persons.”
Additionally, the document calls on the civic organizations of Latin America and the Caribbean to participate in the design, implementation and evaluation of public policies related to the human rights of older persons.
In their declaration, regional countries reaffirmed their commitment to further the promotion of the Inter-American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons and underlined that the San José Charter on the Rights of Older Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean “provides a regional framework for the development of public policies to which the states continue to adhere,” ECLAC said.