Workshop: A United Nations Convention on the Rights of Older Persons

Event date: 
11 Dec 2016
9:45am to 5:30pm
D'Agostino Hall - (Room: Lipton Hall) NYU Law 110 West 3rd St USA
Rights of Older Persons


Workshop on 

Advancing the Campaign to Elaborate

A United Nations Convention on the Rights of Older Persons





Despite the political impasse confronting previous sessions of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWGA), there is a growing sense that a Convention on the Rights of Older Persons is inevitable. As we approach the 7th OEWGA, we are at a critical point where civil society and influential allies must mobilise to ensure that the momentum to establish a convention is sustained and strengthened going forward. The process of establishing previous UN human rights treaties has shown that a transnational advocacy network can make a significant contribution to influencing states’ positions on creating a treaty and expediting the drafting process. This can be achieved through strong domestic campaigns, increasing the number and diversity of members and resources, strong coordination and communication between civil society (as well as between civil society, state and UN advocates), and the deployment of effective strategies in domestic and international settings.


This Workshop is intended to provide an opportunity for those advocating for a new convention to come together to share experiences and develop strategies to advance that campaign, ahead of the 7th session of the OEWGA. The draft agenda for the Workshop has been developed by the Australian Human Rights Centre in consultation with several leading international organisations and advocates working to advance the human rights of older persons.

The goals of the Workshop include:

(1)     Clarifying the international legal and political process for elaborating a new convention

(2)     Sharing lessons from key national campaigns to advocate for a convention

(3)     Identifying actions to strengthen national campaigns

(4)     Consolidating strategies that civil society will take to the 7th OEWGA meeting

(5)     Identifying strategies for collective action beyond the 7th OEWGA meeting



Civil society organisations and others working for the adoption of a convention on the rights of older persons are welcome to attend. Registration is required, though free of charge. 

For further information please contact us:

Dr Annie Herro

  • Vice-Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Social Sciences, UNSW
  • Co-Director, Project on Human Rights of Older Persons, Australian Human Rights Centre

Professor Andrew Byrnes

  • Professor of Law and Chair, Australian Human Rights Centre, UNSW
  • Co-Director, Project on Human Rights of Older Persons, Australian Human Rights Centre




The Australian Human Rights Centre is an interdisciplinary centre for the study of human rights based in the Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales, Sydney Australia. Further information at We gratefully acknowledge the support of the the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at NYU School of Law in the organisation of this event.


Workshop on Advancing the Campaign to Elaborate

A United Nations Convention on the Rights of Older Persons

Program and speakers are subject to change





Part One: Taking Stock and the 7th OEWGA Strategy

9.45am–10.00am - Welcome by Event Organisers and Sponsors


  • Andrew Byrnes, Professor of Law, Australian Human Rights Centre, UNSW
  • Bridget Sleap, HelpAge International
  • Lee Sung-ho, Chair of Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) Working Group on Ageing

10.00am-10.30am - Introductory Remarks: Taking Stock

  • Overview of process and support for establishing a Convention
  • Opportunities at the 7th OEWGA for civil society

Mateo Estrémé, Deputy Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations, and Chair of OEWGA

10.30am–11.30pm - Update on Key National Campaigns and the International Network

  • Examples of national campaigns and their domestic outcomes: lessons learnt

 Amarsanaa Darisuren, Centre for Human Rights and Development, Mongolia

Elisha Sibale Mwamkinga, The Good Samaritan Social Service Trust, Tanzania

11.30pm–12.30pm - Increasing Civil Society’s Impact at the 7th OEWGA

  • What could be incorporated in organisations’ position papers or statements: lessons learnt from previous meetings and application to 7th OEWGA
  • How to approach government representatives and what information to give them
  • What other strategic activities not already planned should be undertaken at the 7th OEWGA (e.g. NGO declaration, specific interventions)

Ignacio Saiz, Center for Economic and Social Rights

Rosemary Lane, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and Christian Courtis, UN Office of the         High Commissioner for Human Rights

Susan Somers, New York NGO Committee on Ageing and the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse

12.30pm–1.30pm - Lunch break


Part Two: Increasing Network Strength and Impact

1.30pm–2.30pm - Widening the Advocacy Network

  • Empowering and mobilising older people
  • Forging links with networks on other issue areas

Nena Georgantzi, Age Platform Europe and PhD Candidate, NUI Galway

Duncan Wilson, Project Director, Public Health Program, Open Society Foundations

2.30pm–3.30pm - Working with States: the domestic and international realm

  • Influencing governments at a domestic level
  • Influencing the agenda of the Group of Friends of Older Persons and Permanent Country Missions in New York and Geneva

Felice Gaer, Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights; and Vice-Chairperson, UN Committee against Torture

Bill Mitchell, National Association of Community Legal Centres, Australia

Silvia Perel-Levin, Geneva NGO Committee on Ageing

3.30pm–4.00pm - Break


Part Three: Where to From Here?


  • Summary of strategies for the 7th OEWGA
  • Taking forward collective civil society action beyond the 7th OEWGA

Chris Roles, Age International


* Please note that that it is exam time at NYU and students are studying in the same building as the workshop is being held. We have undertaken to NYU that we will endeavour to keep noise levels as low as possible during breaks and we would appreciate the cooperation of participants in that regard.

** The workshop venue is accessible for people using wheelchairs. If you have any other accessibility requirements  to ensure your full participation in the  workshop, please let us know at, and a conference organiser will contact you to discuss these with you.