Having evaluated the various aspects of the law through Steps 1 to 7, the final Step is to gather the results, evaluate the degree to which the law is true to the principles, and develop strategies for addressing any identified shortfalls.
Applying the Principles in Step 8
Note: “Law” here refers to law, policy and practice, as appropriate.
It is not uncommon for laws to fall short of fully promoting or achieving the principles for older persons. After all, we live in a world of competing policy priorities and limited resources, and the principle of understanding membership in the broader society reminds us of the importance of working together to develop a society that is inclusive for all ages. As well, our understanding of the principles and of the experiences of older adults will continually evolve. However, the principle of dignity and worth reminds us that shortfalls should occur only where truly unavoidable, and not as a matter of course or without serious consideration, and that the aim should be to move forwards toward full realization and not backward. Where an evaluation identifies a shortfall, it should be carefully assessed, and any determination that a shortfall cannot be immediately rectified should be made in a transparent and accountable manner.
International human rights law recognizes that not all rights can be immediately and fully attained: the legal principles of progressive realization and “respect, protect, fulfil” come into play in these circumstances, and can be applied in the context of this Framework. While laws may not completely fulfil all the principles, actual contraventions of the principles should be immediately addressed as a matter of priority. Further, where it is not possible to immediately and fully attain the principles in either the substance or the implementation of a particular law, concrete plans should be developed, with clear accountability and timelines, for fully realizing the principles over time.
QUESTIONS FOR CONSIDERATION IN APPLYING STEP 8
For new laws, does the law, overall, represent progress towards the full attainment of the principles?
Are there areas in which the substance or implementation of the law contravenes the principles? If so, what steps will be taken to ensure that the law does not undermine the principles?
Have issues or areas been identified where the principles are in tension? If so, has the tension been analyzed as proposed in Step 3, and the analysis and response clearly articulated and documented?
Are there areas in which the substance or implementation of the law falls short of fully achieving the principles? If so, can steps be taken to ensure immediate complete fulfilment of the principles?
If complete fulfilment of the principles cannot be achieved immediately, for example due to a shortage of resources, has a clear plan been made to address the shortfall over time? Does the plan include clear timelines and accountability for implementation?
Have the results of the evaluation and the decisions made in response to the results been fully documented and considered?
Are the results of the evaluation available to older adults, to the extent possible while respecting confidentiality and privacy rights?
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