Human rights do not retire in older age!

Brussels, 8 December 2017

PDF version available here

Human Rights Day, 10th December 2017

As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is close to turning 70, its provisions are far from being outdated. On the occasion of the Human Rights Day, AGE Platform Europe reminds that every human being has the same inherent and inalienable rights now and always. We also seize the momentum of the Day to launch the full version of our online Older Persons self-advocacy handbook, which empowers older people to better know their human rights and to claim them.


Adopted on 10th December 1948 by the United Nations General Assembly, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is one of the most influential documents in the world. The Universal Declaration has been translated in more than 500 languages and has inspired regional and national human rights documents, including the European Convention on Human Rights.
To mark this anniversary the United Nation (UN) is launching a yearlong campaign to reaffirm the enduring relevance and power of human rights.

“Just like the Universal Declaration has not lost its significance despite reaching its 70th anniversary, we need to remind ourselves that our human rights do not diminish as we get older”, stressed Anne-Sophie Parent, Secretary General.

The Universal Declaration proclaims that we are all born free and equal in dignity and in rights. However, we often tend to forget that we have the same rights in older age. As a result, States ignore their duty to ensure conditions that enable older people to exercise their dignity and equality. Because we fail to recognize the relevance of human rights in older age, we don’t speak up when older people are neglected, discriminated or abused.

To help older people stand up for their human rights, AGE Platform Europe is launching today the last part of its self-advocacy handbook, an online toolkit that aims to empower older people to take action to protect their human rights in their daily lives. Including three separate sections about the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the European Union, the handbook explains concrete ways in which we can uphold our rights in older age and drive positive change at grassroots level.

The last chapter of the handbook focuses on EU mechanisms that help support the rights of older people within the Union and in relations with third countries. Commissioner Jourova in her foreword for this online publication stated: “This publication shows how relevant the European Union is for the daily lives of our older citizens and how EU law and instruments help to promote the rights of older persons at all levels of governance, even beyond our borders. It can be used as a manual by readers who simply want to get a better understanding of their rights. It can also be a very practical tool for people who are active in the safeguarding and promotion of older people’s rights or who want to become more involved in it”.

“ AGE’s handbook and our call for a new UN convention reaffirming the relevance of human rights principles in older age, will help us stand up for our rights and those of others”, concludes Mrs Parent.

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