This 3rd March, older people are coming together in a global movement asking to age with rights: ‘If you give us the inclusion that we deserve, we won’t be part of tomorrow’s problem. We’ll be part of today’s solution’, says Peter from the UK.
Equality and solidarity are core values of the European Union. Our countries have been front runners in defending the rights of women, children, persons with disabilities, and LGBTI people among others globally. In many ways, the EU and its Member States have translated these values into policies and laws. Policies and laws act as shields in our everyday life, and even more so at time of crisis.
Protect our rights everyday, and in times of crisis
During the COVID-19 crisis, or even more recently with the Russian invasion in Ukraine, the lack of adequate protection for our rights in older age has dramatic consequences. During the pandemic, some older people have been subject to hate speech, assault, and abuses, others have had trouble receiving health and social care. Older people living in armed conflict areas, like older Ukrainians today, often face abandonment and barriers to access humanitarian aid.
National or regional instruments exist in some states to outlaw age discrimination. But progress in advancing the protection of our rights in older age is in practice slow, limited, and inconsistent. Persistent ageism is hampering the full enjoyment of our rights later in life. The report of January 2022 from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights confirms:
‘The current international framework provides fragmented and inconsistent coverage of the human rights of older persons in law and practice and that there is a need to move expeditiously towards developing and adopting a coherent, comprehensive and integrated human rights framework on older persons, while further integrating older persons’ concerns into the work of existing mechanisms.’
The EU can be a world leader for our human rights in older age too
Older people in Europe demand that the EU and its Member States lead on a new UN convention to protect our rights in older age and in all areas of life.
‘We urge all national states to consent to starting a draft of a UN convention on the rights of older people without any further delay’ says Heidrun from Germany.
‘We need that convention to protect vulnerable people and we need that convention so that everybody can age with dignity and continue to develop their potential’ adds Moira, from the French association Old Up and the global Pass It On network.
By taking a stand in favour of a new UN convention on the rights of older people, our governments will demonstrate unambiguously their leadership to ensuring equal respect of everyone’s rights at all ages. Our government must actively participate in the UN discussions taking place in the frame of the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing from 11 to 14 April!
The voices of older people from Europe will gather with those from all around the world this 3rd March 2022, on the occasion of the first ever global rally for our rights in older age.
‘We want to see a general movement all over the world to see that the rights of older people are defended’ concludes Liz from Greece.
- 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)