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Clustered ID with the Independent Expert on Older Persons and the Special Rapporteur on Water and Sanitation
September 11, 2017

HRC 36, A.I. 3:  Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on Older Persons and the Special Rapporteur on Water and Sanitation

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America,
delivered by Rebecca Wallace

Human Rights Council 36th Session
Geneva, September 11, 2017


Thank you, Mr. Vice-President.

The United States thanks both mandate holders for their reports.  We appreciate the focus in the report of the Independent Expert on the Rights of Older Person on the impact of technology.  Because technologies are constantly being developed and upgraded, this is an emerging issue that merits continued examination.

The United States has supported the provision of assistive technology for older persons and persons with disabilities across the lifespan since 1998, with the passage of the Assistive Technology act.  This legislation and its subsequent reauthorizations support the Center for Integrated Programs, Office of Consumer Access and Self-Determination in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living.  The Center facilitates and funds state efforts to improve the provision of assistive technology to individuals with disabilities of all ages through comprehensive statewide programs.

We agree with the report’s conclusion that technologies must be responsibly designed and utilized for older persons to benefit.  We also agree that technologies must take into account the diverse views and preferences of each individual, and should be aimed at expanding opportunities for each person.  But technologies cannot take the place of human care, nor do they negate member states’ responsibilities toward older persons.

At the December 2016 session of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing, some delegations agreed that the existing international legal framework does not ensure the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons.  The United States, however, remains unconvinced that a new UN convention would add to the significant human rights protections already present in existing human rights instruments.  Member states and other stakeholders should give priority to practical measures that can deliver relief in concrete, timely ways.

Question:  Can the Independent Expert provide some examples of technologies that hold promise of improving older persons’ lives?