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Finland: UN rights expert to assess situation of older persons

GENEVA (25 October 2021) – UN human rights expert Claudia Mahler will carry out an official visit to Finland from 26 October to 4 November 2021 to assess the human rights situation for older people in the country.

“I find it encouraging that Finland, being one of the most rapidly ageing countries in the world, provides multiple tools for older persons to enjoy their human rights, including through social protection, services and facilities in later life,” the Independent Expert on the rights of older persons said.

“This will be an important opportunity to learn first-hand how care facilities coped with the COVID-19 pandemic. It will be a chance for me to identify and exchange good practices, including in the areas of promoting and protecting the human rights of older persons and to share recommendations.

“I am particularly interested in learning how long term care has evolved since 2019 when reports of widespread neglect in care facilities in Finland emerged and the effectiveness of any legislative changes made since then.”

Mahler said she was looking forward to learn more about Finland’s comprehensive policy framework, the National Programme on Ageing 2030: for an age-competent Finland, in relation to older persons and how it addresses the human rights concerns of an ageing population.

Mahler will also assess issues such as social security, care provision, elder abuse, age discrimination and ageism, digital inclusion and meaningful participation as well as specific contexts such as rural areas and deprivation of liberty.

The expert, who is visiting Finland at the invitation of the Government, will travel to Helsinki and Imatra for discussions with government representatives, including at the municipal and regional levels. She will also meet with civil society organizations and older persons themselves.

Mahler will hold a press conference to share her preliminary findings at 12:00 on Thursday 4 November 2021 at UNDP Finland, Siltasaarenkatu 4, 7th floor,Helsinki. 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 2022.

ENDS

Ms. Claudia Mahler (Austria) was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council as Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons in May 2020. She has been working for the German Institute for Human Rights as a senior researcher in the field of economic, social and cultural rights since 2010. She was also a visiting professor at the Alice Salomon Hochschule in 2020-2021. From 2001 to 2009, Ms. Mahler conducted research at the Human Rights Centre of the University of Potsdam where her main fields were in human rights education, minority rights and the law of asylum. In 2000, she received her doctoral degree and was appointed as Vice President of the Human Rights Commission for Tyrol and Vorarlberg.

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.

UN Human Rights, country page – Finland

For further information and media requests, please contact: Ms. Hee-Kyong Yoo (+41 22 917 9723, during the visit +41(0) 79-752 0481, yoo@un.org)

In Geneva: Ms. Tina Kalamar (+41 22 928 9774); email: tina.kalamar@un.org or write to olderpersons@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit jeremy.laurence@un.org