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20th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights (ASEMHRS20): “Human Rights of Older Persons”

Governance Events


Project Period:
22-24 February 2021

Given the circumstances that the importance of human rights of older persons has been continuously emphasised while a binding international instrument that comprehensively addresses the human rights of older persons or guarantees equality and non-discrimination on the basis of older age is still absent, the efforts to improve national protection and enforcement of existing legal instruments would be necessary to strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights of older persons. In this respect, facilitating international cooperation and sharing best practices and policies would be beneficial to address common challenges.

Against this backdrop, to discuss ageing and human rights of older persons’ related issues more actively within ASEM Partners and to build collective understanding by sharing common concerns, best practices and assessing the current status, the 20th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights will be held under the topic of “Human Rights of Older Persons”.

The Seminar will provide a forum for discussion among all relevant stakeholders, including government officials from ASEM Partners, academic experts, and representatives of civil society organisations to jointly seek and devise measures to promote and protect human rights of older persons as well as to strengthen mutual cooperation and partnerships.

Among many issues related to human rights of older persons, the discussion during the Seminar will focus on four thematic areas that are of central importance to many older persons and require greater efforts and attention from the international community. The participation in the 20th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights will take place in four simultaneous working group discussions on the following topics:

  • Autonomy and Independence of Older Persons
  • Social Protection and Human Rights of Older Persons
  • Age Discrimination against Older Persons focusing on Labour Markets
  • Empowerment of Older Persons through Education and Training

Please refer to the Seminar’s concept note for more details.

Participation & format of the event

The Seminar is an invitation-only event for which relevant participants belonging to the civil society from Asia and Europe are selected by the Co-organisers. The civil society participants comprise human rights experts & practitioners from civil society organisations (CSOs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and academia (universities, research institutes & think tanks).

Representatives of ASEM Partners’ Ministries / government agencies are nominated by ASEM Partners.

The Seminar also welcomes representatives from national human rights institutions (NHRIs), as well as from  relevant international /regional / inter-governmental organisations.

The format of the 3-day Seminar will consist of plenary sessions and thematic working groups. The Seminar will be an online event (held in conjunction with a face-to-face panel discussion in Seoul, Korea)

Timings (subject to change):

  • Monday, 22 February 2021 – 15:00-18:00 (Singapore time / UTC+8)
  • Tuesday, 23 February 2021 – 15:00 -18:00 (Singapore time /UTC+8)
  • Wednesday, 24 February 2021- 16:00-18:00 (Singapore time / UTC+8)

Working language of the Seminar is English

To register interest or to recommend an expert, please fill out the online form available here. Please note that while all expressions of interest and recommendations are duly considered, they do not guarantee invitation. Final decisions will be based on factors such as expertise, geographic distribution and gender balance and will be taken by the Steering Committee of the Human Rights Seminar.


Based on the working group discussions and the contributions of the participants, two main outputs will be produced

  • the main recommendations of the working groups, which are disseminated to 53 ASEM Partners in the form of ‘Key Messages’ &
  • a detailed summary of the working group discussions (Seminar report)

The outcomes from the Seminar are disseminated to a wider audience through Seminar Publication and Outreach activities.


The Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights series was launched in 1997 to deepen relations between civil society actors and governments in Asia and Europe on major human rights issues.

This Seminar series is co-organised by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (nominated by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs), the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.

The 20th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights will be co-hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Korea, the ASEM Global Ageing Center and the National Human Rights Commission of Korea.

For information on the past Seminars, please follow this link.





Photos & Videos


Concept Note – ASEMHRS20


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