Wednesday, June 17, 2015

OAS Approves Convention Protecting Rights of Older Persons

The member states of the Organization of American States (OAS) has approved a convention to promote, protect and ensure the recognition and the full enjoyment and exercise, on an equal basis, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of older persons, in order to contribute to their full inclusion, integration and participation in society. According to the Inter-American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons, which was immediately signed by the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica and Uruguay, an older person is a:
person aged 60 or older, except where legislation has determined a minimum age that is lesser or greater, provided that it is not over 65 years. This concept includes, among others, elderly persons.
In addition to banning discrimination against older persons, the Convention provides for a "right to work," which signatories are obligated to protect through enabling legislation:
Article 18
Right to work

Older persons have the right to dignified and decent work and to equal opportunity and treatment on the same terms as other workers, whatever their age.

States Parties shall adopt measures to prevent labor discrimination against older persons. It is prohibited to make any kind of distinction that is not based on the specific requirements of the job, in accordance with domestic laws and local conditions.

The same guarantees, benefits, labor and union rights, and pay should apply to all workers in the same employment or occupation and for similar tasks and responsibilities.

States Parties shall adopt legislative, administrative, and other measures to promote formal work for older persons and to regulate the various forms of self-employment and domestic work, with a view to preventing abuse and ensuring them adequate social coverage and recognition for unremunerated work.

States Parties shall promote programs and measures that will facilitate a gradual transition into retirement, for which they may rely on the participation of organizations representing employers and workers, as well as of other interested agencies.

States Parties shall promote labor policies that take account of the needs and characteristics of older persons, with the aim of fostering workplaces that are suitable in terms of working conditions, environment, work hours, and organization of tasks.

States Parties shall encourage the design of training and knowledge-certification programs in order to promote access for older persons to more-inclusive labor markets.

Source: Organization of American States Press Release (June 15, 2015)

Additional sources: Patricia Barnes Blog Post: American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons (August 1, 2015)

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