The EU leads the rallying for a UN Convention


AGE is part of a global movement in favour of a new UN convention on the rights of older people. While the EU and its member states are global leaders in the defence and promotion of human rights, it is time that they demonstrate in practice their commitment to equality at all ages.


In 2021, we launched “Lead With Us” – a spinoff from the wider campaign #EULeadsTheRally – calling for EU Member States to demonstrate in practice their commitment to human rights for all ages. You can learn more in our Special Briefing or call to action.

> What is the campaign calling for?

To date, no international human rights treaty has been adopted without the support of European States. This campaign is asking for European States to mobilise and speak up in favour of a new UN convention.

> Why a campaign now?

The call for a UN convention on the rights of older persons is not new.

For more than 10 years, the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG) is mandated to explore – among other issues – whether a new convention might be required. There, many States along with NGOs and National Human Rights Institutions have been building the case in favour of a new convention.

Amidst a global pandemic, all EU member states have expressed deep concern over the escalation of ageism. They have agreed to work using a rights-based approach to foster more inclusive, equitable, resilient, and age-friendly societies.

> What can you do?

EU Member States can take a stand in favour of a new UN convention at the OEWG and support the establishment of a drafting group. EU Member States can get involved in the Group of Friends of Older Persons which gathers States actively promoting older people’s issues at UN level. They are also encouraged to liaise with NGOs and the National Human Rights Institution of their country to build on the field expertise developed by these organisations. Finally, they can use the opportunities of EU Council discussions to build with other Member States a regional consensus on the matter.

NGOs and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) can reach out to their governments to discuss the necessity of a shift in the way we think and address older age in policymaking and how a UN convention could help. They are also encouraged to get accredited to the OEWG to submit contributions in writing and orally during the yearly sessions. Finally, NGOs and NHRIs are invited to use all channels available (from social media to the press) to inform about their positions and incentivise States to act.

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Media and opinion leaders can contribute to scrutinise how the positions and actions taken by the EU and its Member States protect or violate our rights and dignity when we grow older. Media and opinion leaders can also contribute to making the shift by adopting a mindful language and images.

> Other useful tools and campaigns

For more information about this campaign, please contact Nena Georgantzi, Policy Coordinator on Human Rights & Non-Discrimination:

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