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Susan Robinson, a 68-year-old resident of a United States nursing facility, was lying awake one night in March when she heard her neighbor gasping for breath. “She was dying,” Robinson said. “They took her to the hospital. They didn’t tell us anything…
Caterina Salvi, 90, waits for a visitor inside a protective inflatable plastic tunnel at the Martino Zanchi nursing home in Alzano Lombardo, northern Italy, February 24, 2021.
News
As Joe Biden settles into his presidency, in addition to facing a pandemic and economic crisis, he will hear demands for accountability. If President Biden is going to help restore a robust commitment to the rule of law, he will need to reach…
News

Removing human control from the use of force is a grave threat to humanity that deserves urgent multilateral action

When the international debate over fully autonomous weapons began in 2013, a common question was whether robots or machines would perform better than humans. Could providing more autonomy in weapons systems result in greater accuracy and precision? Could…
Killer robots
News
President Jair Bolsonaro has been peddling the myth that only older people are at risk from Covid-19. At the same time, he has repeatedly dismissed their needs. His  disinformation and callous remarks about the country’s 28 million people over 60…
A Zapotec woman washes her hands after learning from a local radio program about hand-washing and social distancing to avoid COVID-19, in Oaxaca state, Mexico, March 31, 2020.
News
Every day for more than two years, Mae has brought breakfast and dinner to her husband, Dean, 75, (not their real names) in his aged care facility in their town in Northern Queensland. Dean has dementia and Mae sits with him for hours, encouraging…
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News
As I sat behind the safety glass of a courtroom at Guantanamo Bay in mid-January, for the pre-trial hearings of the five men charged as conspirators in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, my mind kept wandering to a different prison, halfway…
In this photo reviewed by US military officials, flags fly in front of the tents of Camp Justice, April 18, 2019, in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.
News
As we approach the last days of the decade, it’s important to reflect on the fight for human rights, the setbacks and successes over the past year in Australia and around the world. Our list isn’t ranked, and far from exhaustive – we…
A Uighur woman picking up school children rides past a picture showing China's President Xi Jinping joining hands with a group of Uighur elders at the Unity New Village in Hotan, in western China's Xinjiang region.
News
This year I have interviewed dozens of people who have told me how aged care facilities drugged their parents, grandparents, husbands, wives and neighbours. We’d sit down in someone’s home, or in an advocacy group’s meeting space, or in a coffee shop, and…
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News
New Zealand has banned semi-automatic firearms, magazines, and parts that can be used to assemble prohibited firearms after 50 people were killed and dozens wounded in a mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15. …
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News

Choice and the Dangers of Institutionalization for Older People

There are inherent risks in the institutionalization of older people. More protections from those risks are needed, particularly around decision-making. A “best interests” standard for decision making “for your own good” is not good enough. Older people’s…
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News
My dad’s hearty laugh and sparkling eyes faded—and his care needs grew—as dementia set in. For his last few years, my dad lived in a care facility. The memory care unit staff treated him well. But he needed more than the staff. He needed…
Dementia
News

We are not destined to be objects of pity in our old age. But ageism is alive and kicking.

Most people in England have probably heard about the country’s social care crisis and the enormous pressure on the vital services that support older people to live independent and dignified lives in their own homes. The crisis might seem…
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News
On December 10, the world marks 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Regrettably, instead of the anniversary signalling the enduring impact of human rights, some are fearing the “end of human rights.” Here we…
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News
I’ll start with a sentiment I hear a lot when I say I work on older people’s rights: “Oh, nursing homes can be awful, but my dad’s in a good one.” I would hope that everyone living in a facility is living in a “good” one. But unfortunately, that just isn’…
News
The next revolution in warfare threatens to undermine fundamental principles of morality and law. Fully autonomous weapons, already under development in a number of countries, would have the power to select targets and fire on them…