The 3rd of March 2022 saw organisations and older persons all over Europe and the world rally together in support for a UN convention on the rights of the older persons. Creating a digital movement like no other!
Behind each organisation mobilised in the global rally are hundreds and thousands of older people. In the run-up to the mobilisation, AGE member organisations engaged with their respective communities about the purpose and implications of a better protection for our human rights in older age.
- In Italy, the National Association for the Protection of the Rights of Over 40 Workers – ATDAL Over 40 – encouraged its readers to involve local institutions and other civil society organisations in the debate about our rights in older age.
- In Portugal, APRe! featured the rally in their newsletter, informing their individual members about the opportunity of the upcoming UN Open-Ended Working Group session from 11 to 14th of April and calling on them to show their support using #EnvelhecercomDireitos (#AgeWithRights)
- In Sweden, SPF Seniorerna held a webinar explaining the work being done to bring about a UN convention on the rights of older people, and how it could make a difference for the experience of millions of older people around the world.
Current laws and policies do not suffice
In various countries, older people’s organisations also recalled the gaps currently preventing older people to fully participate in society and live free from discrimination and abuse:
In Italy, 50 & Piu noted the achievements of EU Member States in securing and protecting the rights of older persons in some areas but highlighted the necessity to continue pursuing equal rights for older persons in Europe and around the globe.
ANCeSCAO, the National Association of Community Centers and Older People’s Committees, highlighted that several rights are still not universally recognized for older persons, including the right to not be discriminated due to age and protection against violence and abuse.
- In Germany, BAGSO held a panel discussion based on the right to participation, one of the focal points for this year’s OEWG. The speakers detailed how older people in Germany are affected by age discrimination and negative images of older age, and how they restrict their right to participate. Information on how the right to participation of older people can be respected and protected was also given.
- In Serbia, the Red Cross participated in a regional webinar on age discrimination explaining the systematic nature of ageism in various areas of life, such as social and health care, education, or digital literacy.
Members of the European Parliament stand with older people asking for a UN convention on the Rights of Older Persons
‘The call for a UN convention is not new, but it is all the more urgent now that, in the face of a global pandemic, all EU member states have expressed deep concern about the escalating numbers of older people and agreed to work using a rights-based approach to promote more inclusive, equitable, resilient and age-friendly societies.’ wrote our member FATEC – the Federation of Associations of the Older People of Catalonia.
Listening to older people’s asks, MEP Jordi Cañas coordinated with 18 other Members of the European Parliament the submission of a written question to Vice-President of the European Commission, Josef Borrel. In this question, MEPs are asking:
- Whether and how the EU is planning to contribute to the upcoming UN discussions by submitting written input or formally participating in the upcoming session in April;
- What measures have been taken for the EU to promote a regular debate on the rights of older people;
- How will the EU take into account the views of Europe’s older people when developing its position.
Committed to spread the word beyond the institutional procedures of Brussels, MEP Cañas released a video statement urging the Spanish government and the European Union to take a stand in favor of a UN convention for the rights of older people.
Both initiatives of MEP Cañas were warmely welcomed by the Spanish organisations of older people. Other ageing organisations commended MEPs from their country for supporting the initiative.
- In Greece, People Behind recounted the evidence building the case for a UN convention and acknowledged that only MEP Stelios Kympouropoulos had supported the written question put forward by MEP Cañas.
- In Poland, OKRA complimented MEPs Jarosław Duda and Sylwia Spurek and urged all governments to participate in the upcoming UN discussions.
Our governments have a role to play next April!
The conversation continues beyond the 3rd of March. As recalled by many older people’s organisations during the Rally, the next checkpoint will be the 12th session of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing.
- In Slovenia, the National Association of Pensioners’ Organisations ZDUS detailed Slovenia’s action so far and encouraged their government to lead the rally for a UN Convention on the rights of older persons.
- In Turkey, the Pensioners’ Association TUED acknowledged their government’s participation in the past year and invited all persons or institutions to join them in the rally for the rights of older persons.
- In Belgium, the conversation will continue in the coming weeks with the Flemish Council for Older People hosting a ‘study day’ to discuss how older people’s rights are infringed upon and discover what we can do to better protect these rights.
You want to keep the conversation going? Check and use our #EULeadsTheRally campaign material and reach out to your government asking about their participation at the UN Open-Ended Working Group.
For more information, visit:
- AGE Special Briefing about the Global Rally
- AGE messages for the Global Rally
- AGE campaign #EULeadsTheRally
- AGE two-pagers on why we need a UN convention
- Global Rally by the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People
- Report on ‘Normative standards and obligations under international law in relation to the promotion and protection of the human rights of older persons’ by the High Commissioner for Human Rights (January 2022)
Your organisation has joined the Global Rally but isn’t in this list?
Do not hesitate to keep us informed and share your news (including in original language) with Estelle: email@example.com