(PRWEB) July 11, 2014
Legal scholars and human rights advocates at The John Marshall Law School today are releasing a proposed international convention that aims to provide legal protections to older persons under international human rights law. The Chicago Declaration on the Rights of Older Persons will be presented before the United Nations on August 1.
Declaration authors – under the direction of The John Marshall Law School, Roosevelt University and East China University of Political Science and Law – hope their efforts and research will contribute to the establishment of a U.N. Convention on the Rights of Older Persons.
The declaration has been crafted and edited over several months by scholars, advocates and policymakers from more than a dozen countries, including China, Ireland, Israel and the United States.
Authors of the declaration write that they are: “Convinced that a comprehensive international convention to promote the rights of older persons will contribute to redressing the profound social disadvantage of older persons and promote their equal participation in the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural life in both developing and developed countries.”
“It is vital that the world’s aging citizens receive comprehensive legal protections and support from domestic and international law,” said Ralph Ruebner, associate dean for Academic Affairs at John Marshall and chair of John Marshall’s 2014 Belle R. & Joseph H. Braun Memorial Symposium. “This proposed convention will go a long way in helping achieve this. We look forward to presenting our work before the United Nations and continuing the conversation on these important human rights issues.”
The Chicago Declaration addresses a multitude of potential issues facing the world’s older population, from medical decision-making to abuse. It is not meant to supersede or diminish any greater rights granted to older persons that may already exist in local, state or national law. The declaration calls upon states to raise public awareness and educate older persons of their rights, as well as encourage programs that promote inter-generational relationships.
Israel Doron, law professor and head of the Department of Gerontology at the University of Haifa in Israel, said that older persons are subjected to socio-economic injustice, noting that by 2050 more than a billion people will be living without stable incomes.
“You cannot ignore this phenomenon and you cannot ignore that older people are beginning to play a significant role in our society – something that had not happened in the past,” Doron said in a keynote speech during the 2014 International Elder Law and Policy Conference, John Marshall’s Belle R. & Joseph H. Braun Memorial Symposium.
Doron argued that now is the time for an international convention on rights for older persons, and that eradicating ageism is not specifically mentioned in any current legally binding international policy.
“Ageism is everywhere,” he said. “Ageism is humiliating. It judges you, not because of who you are, but because of the number above your head.”
The declaration explicitly aims to prevent discrimination and notes the need to protect certain vulnerable populations, including women, religious minorities, those suffering from dementia and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons. The proposed legislation calls for freedom in older persons’ decisions, including quality of life, housing, and health care. Some examples include:
- Older persons have the right to effective enjoyment of life, the right to live with dignity in old age, and the right to make decisions about the quality of their lives.
- Older persons have the right to self-determination in health-related matters and to make medical decisions based on informed consent.
- Older persons have the right to access a range of in-home formal or informal caregiving, residential, and other community support services.
The declaration was unveiled at the end of the two-day Belle R. & Joseph H. Braun Memorial Symposium. The annual lecture series features distinguished panels and speakers on topics including constitutional law, criminal law, environmental law and international human rights.
All of the research from the conference presenters, as well as the declaration in its current state, can be found at http://www.jmls.edu/braun-materials.
For more information, please contact Christine Kraly at ckraly(at)jmls(dot)edu or 312-427-2737 ext. 171.
About The John Marshall Law School
The John Marshall Law School, founded in 1899, is an independent law school located in the heart of Chicago’s legal, financial and commercial districts. The 2015 U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Graduate Schools ranks John Marshall’s Lawyering Skills Program second and its Intellectual Property Law program 12th in the nation. Since its inception, John Marshall has been a pioneer in legal education and has been guided by a tradition of diversity, innovation, access and opportunity.
About East China University
East China University of Political Science and Law (ECUPL), a public university in Shanghai, was founded in 1952. It is one of the first groups of higher learning institutions of politics and law established by the People’s Republic of China, and is the largest law institution in China. ECUPL is housed on two campuses and serves approximately 20,000 students enrolled for LL.D. programs and six LL.M. programs.
About Roosevelt University
Roosevelt University is a private, nondenominational university with campuses in downtown Chicago and northwest suburban Schaumburg, Ill. When it was founded in 1945, Roosevelt was one of the first colleges in the country to admit all qualified students without regard to race, religion, gender or national origin and today remains one of the nation’s most diverse private universities.