Romanian Institute for Human Rights
Population ageing is a major global tendency that affects, at different paces and levels, all countries. It reflects some of the significant achievements of human development, such as health improvement, increased longevity and reduction of mortality.
As a result of the increasing number of old persons, the importance of active ageing is more and more acknowledged and so is, at the same time, the importance the rights of old persons as a number of international initiatives and mechanisms prove.
In spite of these efforts, old persons encounter many problems that limit both their rights, including the right to autonomy, participation, access to education and training, to health and social assistance, and their contribution to the welfare of society. Moreover, old age aggravates the challenges individuals have to fight throughout their lives, such as discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity, disability, religion or other reasons. Thus, poverty, discrimination, violence and abuses, as well as the lack of statistical data on old persons are major threats to their wellbeing.
The international human rights documents do not expressly refer to old persons, which entails the risk that their rights could be neglected in terms of implementation, monitoring and reporting, or even be interpreted differently, depending on the human rights mechanism and context.
The UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons emphasized on the need for the elaboration of a special binding instrument focused on the special human rights challenges faced by old persons.
Rights of old persons and long-term care
- The Vienna International Plan of Action on Aging, adopted by the World Assembly on Aging held in 1982 and approved in the same year by the UN General Assembly under Resolution 37/51
- United Nations Principles for Older Persons adopted in 1991 by the UN General Assembly under Resolution 46/91
- The International Plan of Action on Aging and the Political Declaration – adopted by the Second World Assembly on Ageing, Madrid
- European Interim Agreement on Social Security Schemes Relating to Old Age, Invalidity and Survivors (ETS 012)
- Protocol to the European Interim Agreement on Social Security Schemes Relating to Old Age, Invalidity and Survivors (ETS 012A)
- Law No. 17 of 6 March 2000 on the social assistance for old persons (***Republished - text in effect since 13 May 2010) ro
- Government Decision No. 541 of 9 June 2005 on approving the National Strategy for the development of the social assistance for old persons for the period 2005-2008 ro
- Law No. 281 of 6 July 2006 on amending and supplemting Law No. 17/2000on the social assistance for old persons ro
- Law No. 270 of 7 November 2008 on amending Law No. 17/2000 on the social assistance for old persons ro
- Government Urgency Ordinance No. 43 of 5 May 2010on amending several normative acts with a view to reduce or administratively simplify various authorizations/notices/procedures ro
- Drepturile omului la vârsta a treia, Radu C. Demetrescu, IRDO, Bucureşti, 1994 (Human Rights in the Third Age)
- Protecţia drepturilor şi libertăţilor persoanelor vârstnice, Nicole Delperée, traducere Dragoş Stoenescu, IRDO, Bucureşti, 1995 (Protection of the rights and freedoms of older persons)
- Raport privind Drepturile persoanelor în vârstă şi Instituţiile Naţionale pentru Drepturile Omului, (contribuţie la raportul Reţelei Europene a Instituţiilor Naţionale pentru Drepturile Omului), IRDO, Bucureşti, 2013 (Report on the rights of older persons and the National Human Rights Institutions) (contribution to the Report by the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions
- Roundtable on “The fundamental right of older persons to medical and social protection” organized on occasion of the International Day of Older Persons (2014)
- Roundtable on the Project entitled “National Strategy for the promotion of active ageing and protection of older persons for the period 2015-2020” (2015)
- Roundtable on “Sustainability and Age Inclusiveness in the Urban Environment” - the theme proposed by the United Nations for this year’s celebration of the International Day of Older Persons (2015)
- Seminar on “The rights of older persons in care centres” (2015)
- Debate on the draft national programme entitled “Increasing life quality of older persons in older persons homes” (2016)
- Conference on “Take a Stand Against Ageism”, the theme proposed in 2016 by the United Nations Organization for celebrating the International Day of Older Persons
Rights of older persons and long-term care
The Institute and other five similar national institutions from the European Union participated in the Project entitled “The Human Rights of Older Persons and Long-term Care” (2015-2017), coordinated by the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI).
The Project was meant to induce a human rights approach to older persons care in Europe, to clarify the international and regional standards applicable in the field and to formulate recommendations for the decision-making actors at European level in order to optimize the protection of these persons, as well as to increase acknowledgement of the role of national human rights institutions in the field.
In the framework of the Project, the Institute monitored eight care centres in Romania, four in the urban and four in the rural area, of which six were public and two were private, and contributed with studies and material, including elaboration of Romania’s country report on older persons (in English), and elaboration of ENNHRI’s final Report entitled «„We have the same rights”. The Human Rights of Older Persons in Long-term Care in Europe». Also, representatives of RIHR organized a number of interviews, meetings and debates with representatives of the central and local authorities having powers in the field, as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations and professional organizations.
It is also worth mentioning RIHR’s participation in a number of events organized at international, European or national level, both by RIHR and RIHR’s partners, dealing with topics related to the rights of older persons, of which some were part of the Project coordinated by the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions. Let us mention a couple of them:
- Workshop on “Rights of older persons in long-term care”, organized by the Council of Europe and the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (8 October 2014)
- Conference on “Fighting elder abuse in Europe”, organized by the Council of Europe, the European Commission, the European Committee of the Regions, AGE Platform Europe and the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions on occasion of the 10th anniversary of the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (15-18 June 2015)