International Day of Human Rights: Stand up for your rights… but first get to know them!

Brussels. 09 November 2016

PDF version available here

International Day of Human Rights, 10 December

On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day , commemorating the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948, AGE Platform Europe calls on older people to stand up for their rights, using our updated online self-advocacy handbook.

“Human rights should not be an alienating concept understood only by lawyers, but a vehicle through which everyone can enjoy basic entitlements, states Anne-Sophie Parent, AGE Secretary General.

Many older people do not perceive human rights as something which is relevant to their day-to-day lives. Yet, Eleanor Roosevelt, who was the driving force in creating the Universal Declaration, is known to have said that human rights begin in small places, close to home, and unless rights have meaning there, larger progress in the world is unattainable.

Endorsing this statement, AGE has embarked in a 3-year project aiming to explain how human rights work in practice. By translating the international human rights framework in an accessible language and using concrete examples about older people’s lives we aim to give older people the necessary tools to defend their rights.

HR Handbook cover pageAfter publishing last year the first two parts of our online ‘Older People’s Self-Advocacy Handbook’ on general concepts and the United Nations framework, we are launching today the chapter on the main processes of the Council of Europe.

In his foreword to our online toolkit Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights stresses that older persons “must continue to be included and play a valuable and active role in society, and should be involved in policy planning which affects them. In order to be able to do this, they must be aware of their rights and the mechanisms which exist to inform and protect them…This Handbook, which brings together different sources of information in one easily accessible publication, is a useful tool for organisations advocating for the rights of older persons, and will also be useful to older persons themselves to further their knowledge and understanding of their rights”.

The Council of Europe has established some of the most relevant human rights norms for older people, including the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Social Rights and the recent Recommendation the promotion of human rights of older persons”, continues Ms Parent. “Unless older people know about all these instruments and how they relate to everyday situations, such as access to care and adequate income, human rights will not become a reality for our older population”.

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