First Reflections on Human Rights integration and a Users’ Perspective: the Rights of the Elderly

Onderzoeksoutput: Meeting abstract (Book)


The research is part of Work Package 3 (Bridges Between Different Layers of Human Rights Law) of
the IAP project, which aims to study human rights law as an integrated whole from a users'
perspective. It focuses more specifically on the results of the bridge building efforts that are explored
in the first angle of evaluation in WP3 (case study of the European Court of Human Rights). The aim
of the research is to take part in and contribute to the ongoing debate on how to strengthen the human
rights framework for older persons by exploring alternative ways to better protect the rights of this
vulnerable group.
As there already exists a large number of soft law instruments on the rights of the elderly, the research
thus aims to identify ways in which these can be used more efficiently to protect the rights of older
persons. Regional human rights courts are increasingly referring to soft law to interpret the scope of
the convention they were established to monitor. The main research question is therefore whether
human rights integration can be achieved through the procedure of external sources and cross
references by courts - as 'users' of human rights - leading to the construction of a corpus juris that is
functionally equivalent to the drafting of a hard law instrument and that is unified and exhaustive as
regards the question dealt with? In attempting to answer that question, the research will not only focus
on this practice's impact on the effective protection of human rights, but also on its potential
harmonizing and defragmenting effect.
In addition, there is a lack of understanding of the apparent tension that exists between, on the one
hand, the ban on discrimination on grounds of age and the emerging rights of the elderly (first
generation rights) and, on the other hand, the conventional use of age differentiations, notably in
employment and social policy (second generation rights). Accordingly, the aim of the research is to
rationalize in a unified system different 'generations' of human rights, enshrined in both regional and
international instruments, clarified through comments, reports, and (quasi-) judicial decisions, and
construed or 'mainstreamed' by international policy documents on ageing.
Originele taal-2English
StatusPublished - 27 jun 2013


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