Human Rights of Older and Aging Persons


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International and Regional Frameworks

The Academy has been invited by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to implement the research project to develop a comparative analysis of the international and regional human rights of older and aging persons including the recommendations for the way forward at global and regional levels. The Academy Co-directors Claudia Martin and Diego Rodríguez Pinzón lead the project as principal investigators. The project also enables them to continue the research efforts that began with the study on international human rights status of elderly persons that was supported by the grant from the Borchard Foundation and published in the American University International Law Review in 2003. 

The research focuses on identifying key instruments and jurisprudence of international and regional human rights law, emerging legal standards in the regions, and the works of the specialized agencies including but not limited to World Health Organization, Pan-American Health Organization, and International Labor Organization.  In the first phase of the project, research activities focus on identifying instruments and jurisprudence within the universal human rights systems as well as a number of regions including Africa, the Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. In the following phase, the project team will analyze and compare the research findings and formulate recommendations for the way forward to advance further the protection and realization of the identified rights.

During the research activities and comparative analysis, the project team at the Academy also takes into account the objectives and principles of strategy and policy documents issued by the UNFPA, in particular its 2008-2011 Strategic Plan. Additionally, by implementing the project the Academy intends to provide the UNFPA staff with additional tools for the programs that support the national institutions and civil society in their efforts to implement strategies and actions of the International Conference on Population and Development.

Expert Meeting

On June 9, 2010, American University Washington College of Law hosted an expert meeting that convened some of the world's premier experts on the human rights of older persons and global aging. The meeting of senior practitioners and academics discussed the research of current issues and emerging trends in the field of the rights of older persons, and was part of a continuing project by the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law on the rights of older persons. The participating experts included senior representatives from a number of intergovernmental organizations working in the fields of human rights, health, and development, as well as other senior experts from advocacy groups. See more.

National Legal Frameworks – Best Practices

In June 2010, the project team initiated research focused on the identification of the rights and standards in national laws, constitutions, and jurisprudence.  The research output will contain best practices including case studies and a comparative analysis of national legal provisions, jurisprudence of high and constitutional courts, and related national action plans. The research and analytical efforts will also work with the hypothesis that the effective protection and realization of the human rights at national levels leads to the effective implementation of the standards and rights of older and ageing persons.

Research Fellow Network 2010-2011

The Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law is seeking pro bono Research Fellows for legal research of national jurisdictions for its global network of country experts in the human rights of older and aging persons.

The Research Fellows’ contributions will be of invaluable benefit to a unique research project in comparative law. The project’s final product will include a manual for human rights practitioners in the field of international aid and development. In 2011, the Academy plans to offer Research Fellows additional opportunities to participate in publication of a related academic volume.

The Research Fellows will work as short-term, unpaid, non-resident advisors in 2010-2011. Language proficiency, knowledge of the legal frameworks of specific countries, and the ability to summarize briefly selected legal provisions in English is required. Research Fellows need to have legal work experience or have studied law at a university level in the country of interest.

The Research Fellows will also have an opportunity to connect with human rights experts, researchers and advocates from national institutions and NGOs across the globe!  Interested candidates may contact, Alexandra Montgomery, at

Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law Submits Findings on Right to Health of Older Persons to UN Special Rapporteur

The Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law submitted a compilation of the examples of legal and institutional frameworks to protect and realize the right to health of older persons to the U.N. Special Rapporteur.