BAGSO recent commitment to advance older people’s rights at EU and UN level


BAGSO – Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft der Seniorenorganisationen, AGE member in Germany, promoted the discussion on the human rights of older persons during two international meetings in June and August.

Implementation of the MIPAA : call for a UN binding instrument

During the Ministerial Conference about the implementation of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA) in the UNECE region in June 2022, BAGSO organised a side event on MIPAA policies and human rights mechanisms. The event was co-organised by AGE Platform Europe and the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. Minister Lisa Paus participated in the high-level panel discussion and confirmed Germany’s commitment to advance the human rights of older persons at international level.

During the Ministerial Conference civil society organisations demanded for MIPAA to be underpinned by a binding, international human rights instrument to protect the rights of older people. Dr Heidrun Mollenkopf, BAGSO board member and civil society representative in the responsible working group of the UNECE (Standing Working Group on Ageing), said that a UN Convention on the Rights of Older People could complement MIPAA and support the efforts of member states to improve the lives of older people. It would provide older persons with a basis to claim their rights and to take action against age discrimination, for example.

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UN Multi-stakeholder meeting: call for more political engagement at UN and national levels

In August 2022, BAGSO participated in the Multi-Stakeholder Meeting on the human rights of older persons organised by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. For two days, representatives of member states, UN bodies and civil society, including national human rights institutions, discussed how existing legal gaps in the protection of older people can be closed more quickly. BAGSO and other organisations, including AGE Platform Europe and other AGE members, advocated for the UN Human Rights Council to recognise existing legal gaps in a resolution and to determine the next steps on how to close them. This would also support the work of the UN Open-ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG-A), which will meet again in April 2023.

BAGSO participated in the discussions as a representative of civil society with both written and oral statements. The association criticised the low level of commitment of a large part of the international community to better protect the rights of older people. It has been proven by various independent bodies that the existing international human rights framework covers the rights of older people in law and practice only in a fragmented and inconsistent manner. Nevertheless, too little is being done to guarantee older people a life in dignity. The Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People (GAROP) also called for decisive action by member states. The participation of older people‘s representatives in these processes is crucial for their success.

Digitalisation: a critical human right issue

Dr Heidrun Mollenkopf was panellist in one of the sessions of the Multi-Stakeholder Meeting. BAGSO board member elaborated on the consequences of digitalisation for the human rights of older people. Older people are often unable to participate in the rapid developments, and the consequences of digitalisation for them are not sufficiently considered. Possible human rights violations for older people in this context are not covered by existing instruments or treaty bodies.

Other members of AGE were actively involved in the multi-stakeholder meeting, showing, once more, civil society’s strong mobilisation in favour of a UN Convention. Read our article

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