UN Human rights invitation

Professor John Williams.

Professor John Williams.

27 April 2012

Professor John Williams from the Department of Law and Criminology at Aberystwyth University has been invited to join a panel of fifteen international experts on older people and the law by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly established a working group to strengthen the protection of the human rights of older persons.

This group is examining the existing international legal framework for the protection of human rights, identify any gaps and consider how best to address them.

Professor Williams will be a member of the Expert Meeting on the human rights of older persons meeting in New York which is being held on 29 to 31 May 2012.

Among the issues to be considered by the expert group are violence against older people, age discrimination, human rights and the enjoyment of the right to health in older age, long-term care for older persons, dignity and older persons and the justice system.

An outcome paper, reflecting the analysis will be prepared.  This will form the basis for the discussions of the UN working group, and be available to UN member states and other international stakeholder.

Professor Williams has published widely on issues relating to older people and the law.  He is a strong advocate of a law to protect older people at risk from abuse and neglect.

His publications examine the way in which the human rights of older people both within national law and internationally are at risk and how often older people are marginalised.

Recently, he authored a guide published by the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Protection of Older People in Wales.  This is an innovative guide for practitioners in Wales and explains in an accessible format the existing legal framework on adult protection.

Professor Williams has spoken on older people and the law at many international conferences including the American Bar Association, the British Psychological Society, the Canadian Psychological Association, and the International Academy of Law and Mental Health. He also presents an annual seminar at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Psychiatry.

Professor Williams said; “The needs of an ageing population have created a global challenge and not a global problem.  We need to ensure that the human rights of older people throughout the world are protected and promoted.

“I feel very privileged to participate in the work of the United Nations in this vital area of international law reform.

“It is encouraging that the Welsh Government has pledged to introduce legislation to protect adults and I will be delighted to share the Welsh experience with representatives of the international community.”