Towards a UN convention on the rights of older people

HelpAge International

From HelpAge International:

Ageism, discrimination and denial of rights in older age continue to be tolerated across the world.

We need a convention on the rights of older people: Existing human rights mechanisms fail to adequately protect and promote the rights of older people. HelpAge International believes that a single instrument, a new international convention on the rights of older people, is the most effective way to make sure that all people enjoy their human rights in older age, and on an equal basis with others.

We need a convention to:

  • establish legal standards that challenge and replace stigmatising and dehumanising ageist attitudes and behaviour
  • clarify how human rights apply in older age
  • ensure states understand their human rights obligations to us in our older age
  • better understand and assert our rights in our older age
  • improve accountability of states for their human rights obligations towards us in older age
  • provide a framework for policy and decision making.

A convention must:

  • provide a comprehensive and systematic framework for the protection and promotion of all our human rights in older age
  • prohibit all forms of discrimination in older age in every aspect of our lives
  • articulate how each human right specifically applies to us in older age
  • provide for a strong implementation, monitoring and accountability system.

In 2010, the UN established the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG) to strengthen the protection of older people's rights by reviewing how existing instruments address older people's rights, identify gaps in protection, and explore the feasibility of new instruments. HelpAge and other civil society organisations actively engage with this process.

To date, the OEWG has clearly established that there are gaps in the international human rights framework with regard to older people's rights. Support for a new convention is growing among member states from every region of the world. The tenth OWEG took place 15-17 April 2019. The focus was on older people’s rights to social protection and social security and to education and lifelong learning. In their report, Living not just surviving, HelpAge International consulted older people about their experience of these rights ahead of the OEWG. Find out more here

Click here for the full article by HelpAge International.

HelpAge International