CYIL 7 ȍ2016Ȏ TOWARDS A NEW CONVENTION FOR THE PROTECTON OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS organizations and to scholarly literature. The choice and combination of the two words – older and persons – is conscious and intentional. Using the comparative (older) rather than the basic form (old) or the superlative (oldest) should indicate the relativity of the concept which remains open to reinterpretation(s). Speaking about persons rather than people or individuals is useful in that it “recalls the inherent personhood of every individual, reminds us that everyone has worth regardless of age, and that aging does not someone de-value a person”. 22 Combining the two terms should allow to draw attention to various challenges that people might face due to their old age, without reifying either a specific understanding of who older persons are or the characteristics that they are supposed to have. These characteristics are in fact not fixed either. As mentioned above, older persons may be, and are, portrayed both in positive and in negative light. The positive images relate to life experience, accumulated wisdom and the preservation of traditions. The negatives images focus on weakness, conservativism or incapacity to keep pace with new developments. There is also no agreement as to whether older persons exhibit group-based vulnerability or not. As UN Secretary General Pan Ki-Moon stressed in his 2009 follow-up report to the Second World Assembly on Ageing, “older persons are a heterogeneous group, encompassing both people who are major contributors to the development of society, as well as those who are in need of care and support”. 23 Indeed, older persons occupy very diverse positions in any society. Some are in positions of power, exercising control over the lives of others. Most heads of States, high court judges, or directors of public or private institutions would quite likely fall under the UN definition of older persons (those aged 60 and above). Other older people may live disempowered, socially excluded and exposed to poverty and disdain. 24 Still other older persons, most probably the vast majority of them, find themselves somewhere between these two extremes. Yet, if this is so, it is legitimate to ask whether older persons constitute a group and whether this group could be deemed particularly vulnerable so as to require special human rights protection. Do older people – to go back to the understanding of group- based vulnerability introduced by Peroni and Timmer – suffer harm stemming from negative social stereotypes directed against them? And are they regularly excluded from social interactions (misrecognition) and do they face destitution (maldistribution)? 22 Ibid. 23 UN Doc. A/64/127, Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing, Report of the Secretary-General, 6 July 2009, par. 6. 24 Data collected within the EU and the UN coincidently demonstrate that older persons run a higher risk of being subject to extreme poverty. See Eurostat, People at risk of poverty or social exclusion, online at http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/People_at_risk_of_poverty_or_social_ exclusion (retrieved on 12 July 2016); and UN Doc. A/HRC/14/31, Report of the independent expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty, Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, 31 March 2010 (especially Section 2: Poverty and Old Age, par. 8-25).