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Source: Human Rights Commission

The UN Independent Expert on the rights of older persons, Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, will begin her visit next week to New Zealand to assess the human rights situation of older persons.

The UN expert said over the course of her visit, from 2 to 12 March, that she is looking forward to learning more about New Zealand’s comprehensive policy framework in relation to older persons and “how it addresses the human rights concerns of an ageing population.”

“I am particularly interested to discuss the implementation of the new strategy called ‘Better Later Life – He Oranga Kaumātua 2019 to 2034’, which is guided by the principles of ‘Te Tiriti o Waitangi’, the founding document of New Zealand. It is an opportunity to identify and exchange good practices and to share recommendations on the realization of the rights of older persons,” says Ms Kornfeld-Matte.

At the end of her visit she will produce a summary of her findings and recommendations and present them at a press conference in Wellington on 12 March. Her full report will be provided at a later date.

She will be investigating issues of social security, abuse against older person, housing and attitudes towards ageing as well as the digital inclusion of older persons, including older Māori. The visit is organised by government and independent of the Human Rights Commission.

Ms Rosa Kornfeld-Matte was appointed by Human Rights Council as the first Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons in May 2014. Ms Kornfeld-Matte served as the National Director of the Chilean National Service of Ageing, where she designed and implemented the National Policy of Ageing. She has a long career as an academic and is the founder of the programme for older persons at the Pontificia Unversidad Católica de Chile.

Ms Kornfeld-Matte is the second of three UN independent human rights experts who are being hosted by the Government this year. The UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing, Leilani Farah, completed her visit on February 19. The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to mental and physical health will be conducting a visit next month.

Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Paul Hunt, explains; “Older people in New Zealand face significant human rights issues, including poverty, a lack of affordable housing, elder abuse and social isolation. Ms Kornfeld-Matte’s visit is an important opportunity to hold up a mirror so we can better see the human rights predicament of older people in New Zealand.”

“If we’re willing, the UN expert can help us figure out how to address these substantial challenges and ensure older people are able to fully enjoy their human rights,” says the Chief Commissioner.

The Chief Commissioner wrote in January that “Our UN visitors will speak up when they see human rights failings. They will acknowledge successes, make constructive suggestions and remind us of successive governments’ human rights promises to everyone in New Zealand.”

Ms Kornfeld-Matte will hold a press conference to share her preliminary findings at 14:30 on Thursday 12 March 2020 in Wellington. Access will be strictly limited to journalists. If you would like to register, please rsvp to [email protected] 

MIL OSI