Visit of UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons

02 March 2020.

Press Release:

GENEVA (25 February 2020) – UN human rights expert Rosa Kornfeld-Matte will carry out her final official visit to New Zealand from 2 to 12 March 2020 to assess the human rights situation of older persons in the country, before concluding her mandate in April 2020.

“New Zealand’s population is increasingly ageing and is projected to constitute over a fifth of the population by 2034. Sometime in the next decade, there will be more older people than children in the country,” the expert said.

“I look forward to learn 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.”

Kornfeld-Matte will assess a number of areas of particular concern to older persons, such as social security, care, elder abuse and ageism as well as the digital inclusion of older persons, including older Maori.

The expert, who is visiting New Zealand at the invitation of the Government, will travel to Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch for discussions with government representatives. She will also meet with Maori, civil society organizations and older persons themselves.

Kornfeld-Matte will hold a press conference to share her preliminary findings at 14:30 on Thursday 12 March 2020 at UNICEF New Zealand, Level 1, PSA House, 11 Aurora Terrace, Wellington. Access will be strictly limited to journalists.

Her full findings and recommendations will be presented in a report to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2020.

Ms Rosa Kornfeld-Matte (Chile) 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.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.