VERONIKA BÍLKOVÁ CYIL 7 ȍ2016Ȏ Charles University and from the European Master’ s Degree in Human Rights and Democratisation, and she is a holder of the Diploma in International Law awarded by the University of Cambridge. Since 2010 she has been the member of the Council of Europe Commission for Democracy Through Law (Venice Commission) on behalf of the Czech Republic. She focuses on international law and international relations and publishes extensively in these areas. Achieving longevity has been one of the persistent dreams of humankind. Yet, when this dream has come to a large extent true, with life expectancy increasing from 31 in 1900 to 70 in 2015, people have immediately started to ask themselves whether its results are all that positive. Ageing – a term which has largely replaced longevity in the current debate – is conceptualized as a problem which has to be analysed, discussed, and solved. In a rapidly changing world, older persons are often seen as a burden on the society to which they, incapable to keeping pace with modern development, have no longer much to contribute. Stereotypes portraying older persons as weak, unfit, incompetent and dependent on others may, and do, give rise to discriminatory practices and to age-specific human rights violations. Older persons might be disqualified in the job market and if they find a job, they get lower wages. They face acts of elderly abuse, often at the hand of their own children or other close relatives. They may have limited access to health care, social security or pension schemes. It is predicted that by 2050, one fifth of the world population will be over 60, with two thirds of older persons living in less developed countries. 1 It thus hardly comes as a surprise that increasing attention has been paid to the social and legal status of older persons in recent years. 2 And provided that older persons remain one of the few vulnerable groups that are not subject to any special human rights regime, it is also not astonishing that proposals have been made by scholars and non-governmental organizations to adopt a new human rights instrument that would focus specifically on older persons. 3 Although so far the proposal has not gathered sufficient support at the international scene, changing demography and the challenges stemming from it clearly play in its favour. This paper assesses arguments for and against a new instrument that are put forward in scholarly literature, concluding that a new convention for the protection of the human rights of older 1 Global Ageing Statistics, HelpAge – online at http://www.helpage.org/resources/ageing-data/global- ageing-statistics/ (retrieved on 7 July 2016). 2 See MARTIN, Claudia, RODRÍGUEZ-PINZÓN, Diego, BROWN, Bethany, Human Rights of Older People. Universal and Regional Legal Perspectives, Springer, 2015. 3 See DORON, Israel, APTER, Itai, The Debate Around the Need for an International Convention on the Rights of Older Persons, The Gerontologist, Vol. 50, No. 5, 2010, pp. 586-593; DORON, Israel, APTER, Itai, International Rights of Older Persons: What Difference Would a New Convention Make to the Lives of Older People?, Marquette Elder’s Advisor, Vol. 11, 2010, pp. 367-385; HelpAge, Strengthening Older People’s Rights: Towards a UN Convention, sine data; HelpAge, Why it’s time for a convention on the rights of older people, HelpAge Position Paper, 2009.