12 September 2017
The Global Alliance of National
Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) calls on a human rights-based approach as
the development and use of assistive and robotics technology gains traction.
development and use of these new technologies is subject of the annual report of the Independent Expert (IE) Ms Rosa Korfeld-Matte which she presented and discussed
yesterday and the dialogue concluded today at the Human Rights Council’s 36th
report, the IE said that as robots will carry out more caregiving functions,
the benefit to older persons will depend on responsible design and use and “may
require a review of the existing normative and policy frameworks to ensure that
a human rights-based approach is being adopted to assistive technology”. Older
persons must be able to weigh the risks and the concrete benefits of the
technology which in turn needs to be affordable and accessible to everyone and
should not stigmatize older persons. According to the IE, robotics research
activities should be conducted in accordance with the precautionary principle,
anticipating the potential impact while engaging in discussions about the
establishment of a dedicated watchdog on artificial intelligence, and ensuring
that such mechanisms adequately address the situation of older persons and that
they are grounded on human rights standards.
on the report by video statement on behalf of GANHRI, Chairperson Sung-Ho Lee from
the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, in his capacity as Chair of the
GANHRI Working Group on Ageing, thanked the IE for choosing to bring up this
"new, emerging and complex issue”.
with the IE recommendations GANHRI urged to use a human rights-based approach
across the development, access and use of such technologies.
Lee stressed that whilst "the use of assistive technology and robots has
great potential to increase the ability of older persons to live independently
and autonomously, and to fully exercise their human rights on an equal basis
with others” it is important to “ensure that the introduction of advanced
assisted devices and robotics in older persons’ care does not deepen
inequalities between developed and developing countries”.
He also stressed
that it is critical to ensure that it is the older persons themselves who make the
informed decision, whether they want to have this new type of assistance or
prefer to be cared by human beings.
As a strong
promoter of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), GANHRI also joined the Independent Expert’s call in
implementing Goal 17 to enhance cross regional cooperation and access to
science, technology, innovation and knowledge-sharing.
persons represent a non-negligible portion of the world population with
estimations showing a group of 900 million persons in 2016 and a predicted
population of 2 billion persons by 2050. Last year, Ms Rosa Korfeld-Matte
predicted that by the mid of the century and "for the first time in
history there would be more older persons than children under the age of 15
living on the planet".
GANHRI and its
members in all regions are engaged to defend and protect older person’s human
You can watch the video of the statement on GANHRI's Facebook page
You can also download GANHRI statement in English, French, Spanish and Arabic below:
17.09.11 - ENG - GANHRI Statement on IE older persons to HRC 36.pdf
17.09.11 - FRE - GANHRI Statement on IE older persons to HRC 36.pdf
17.09.11 - SPA - GANHRI Statement on IE older persons to HRC 36.pdf
17.09.11 - AR - GANHRI Statement on IE older persons to HRC 36.pdf
Press Release PDF: 17.09.11_PressRelease_HRC36_GANHRIStatement_WGAgeing.pdf