The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK, Chairperson Young-ae Choi) hosts the biannual meeting of GANHRI Working Group on Ageing on October 1 and 4th ASEM Conference on Global Ageing and Human Rights of Older Persons on October 1-2 at Westin Chosun Seoul.
The 4th ASEM Conference on Global Ageing and Human Rights of Older Persons, which was organized to commemorate the International Day of Older Persons (Oct. 1) and Korean Day of Older Persons (Oct. 2), will be co-hosted by the NHRCK and European Union and convenes ministers, vice ministers and other high-level government officials from ASEM partners to discuss international trends and experiences and best practices of different countries.
The United Nations’ World Populations Prospects 2018 confirmed that persons aged 65 or above outnumbered children under five years of age for the first time in history. It further predicted that the number of persons aged 80 or over is like to triple, from about 140 million in 2019 to 430 million in 2050.
Korea also entered into an aged society in 2018, with people aged 65 or above reaching 7.38 million and accounting for 14.3% of the total population. It is expected to become a super-aged society by 2025 when people aged 65 or over make up over 20% of the population at 10.50 million.
The conference is primarily focused on the right to work of older persons, the key element of their economic, social and cultural rights. Topics in the program include: anti-discrimination of older workers; lifelong education and up-skilling and re-skilling of workers; and shift in the job market in the age of the fourth industrial revolution. There will also be a separate session dedicated to the topic of intergenerational solidarity with the aim to find a solution to the problem of hate and discrimination against older persons.
The conference will provide an opportunity to discuss ways to promote the human rights of older persons for various stakeholders from: ASEM partners; international organizations such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), European Commission, United Nations (UN), UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR), UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE); national human rights institutions; and international NGOs such as HelpAge International and AGE Platform Europe.
The opening ceremony on the first day of the Conference will feature opening remarks by Young-ae Choi, Chairperson of the NHRCK, and Michael Reiterer, Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Korea, welcoming remarks by Hong-jae Im, Executive Director of the ASEM Global Ageing Center and congratulatory remarks by Win Myat Aye, Minister of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement of Myanmar, and Nuruzzaman Ahmed, Minister of Social Welfare of Bangladesh. This will be followed by keynote speeches by Martin García Moritán, Chair of the UN Open-ended Working Group on Ageing, Aladdin D. Rillo, Deputy Secretary-General of the ASEAN Economic Community and Lluís Prats, Head of Unit of the Directorate-Generate for Employment of the European Commission.
At the meeting of the GANHRI Working Group on Ageing on September 30, the NHRCK, as Chair of the Working Group, will lead discussions about how to facilitate NHRI participation in the 11th session of the UN Open-ended Working Group on Ageing, which is scheduled to take place in April 2020. Other topics of discussion are the outcomes of the 10th session of the UN Working Group, NHRI activities to promote the rights of older persons and cooperation among international organizations, international NGOs and NHRIs and the 2020 strategic plan for the GANHRI Working Group.
The NHRCK released a statement by the Chair of the GANHRI Working Group on September 12 in response to the latest report submitted by the UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons to the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council. With regard to the Independent Expert’s report that warns of greater risks facing older persons in emergency situations such as disaster or conflict, the statement calls for proactive measures and institutional mechanism with a focus on human rights to effectively deal with challenges facing older persons such as discrimination and exclusion.