Empowering older people to speak up for their human rights!

Brussels, 30th September 2015

PDF version available here

25th UN International Day of Older Persons, 1st October 2015

To celebrate the 25th United Nations International Day of Older Persons, AGE Platform Europe is pleased to launch its online Older Persons’ Self-Advocacy Handbook intended to support the involvement of older persons in all processes that affect their human rights.

For too long older people across the world – although they have been victims of various forms of abuse, discrimination and exclusion – have been ignored by the international human rights framework. The European Union is no exception. More than ever, the ongoing economic concerns challenge our view of older persons and ageing, as public policies tend to equate old age with dependency, impairments and costs.

The International Day of Older Persons marks a different way of looking at older people: from humans with needs to humans with rights. Our Handbook endorses a positive vision of old age, giving older people voice and space to speak up for their human rights.

“This Handbook makes an important contribution by giving visibility to, and promoting awareness of, the human rights of older persons. It is a toolkit that can be used by different stakeholders, including associations for and of older persons, which will empower them to claim their rights. As rights-holders, older persons should be able to exercise their rights in all circumstances”, explains the UN Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of All Human Rights by Older Persons, Ms. Rosa Kornfeld-Matte.

With this Handbook, we aim to empower older people, as self-advocates and through their representative organisations, to voice their concerns and expectations and drive positive change. AGE’s Older Persons’ Self-Advocacy Handbook, valorises older persons as experts in their own lives and includes practical information on how they can get involved in relevant international and EU policies.

“Ignoring older people’s human rights implies viewing a growing part of EU’s population as less deserving of respect and creating ground for further discrimination marginalisation and mistreatment”, stresses Anne-Sophie Parent, Secretary-General of AGE Platform Europe. “We hope that this handbook will contribute to a constructive dialogue among older people and policymakers and ensure that human rights underpin ageing policies at all levels”, she continues.

To date the rights of older persons have not yet been included in EU’s political priorities; as a result, a lot more remains to be done so that article 25 of the EU Charter on the rights of the elderly is matched on the ground.

On the occasion of the 2015 International Day, which focuses on sustainability and age inclusiveness on the urban environment, AGE also wishes to reiterate its support for an EU Covenant on Demographic Change that we see as a necessary vehicle to promote the rights of older persons and the creation of age-friendly environments at grass-roots level. We moreover welcome and support the ‘Silver Rainbow’ campaign launched this week by ILGA-Europe to raise awareness of the challenges faced by older lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersexual (LGBTI) people.

The 1st of October should act as a reminder that all older persons, no matter whether they are ageing in health and benefiting from supportive environments or are faced with disadvantages, such as frailty and isolation, should remain in charge of their own lives and be given equal opportunities to participate in their communities.

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Useful links

Older Persons’ Self-Advocacy Handbook: https://publications.age-platform.eu/

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