Age Demands Action for Rights

Older women and men have the same rights as everyone else: we are all born equal and this does not change as we grow older. Despite this, older women and men around the world continue to be discriminated against and denied their rights because of their old age.

The UN conventions on human rights that exist don’t cover the specific human rights violations that people experience in old age. A new UN convention on the rights of older people is necessary to change this.

With your help, we can stop age discrimination and push governments for a UN convention to protect the rights of older people. Sign the petition now!

Why we need a convention on the rights of older people

Kenneth, 73, is an older activist and Age Demands Action leader from Jamaica. Here he tells us why we need a UN convention on the rights of older people.

Getting the convention adopted

ADA for Rights campaigners in Fiji, 2012 ADA for Rights campaigners in Fiji, 2012 (c) HelpAge International

HelpAge is working hard through our Age Demands Action for Rights campaign to get a UN convention on the rights of older people adopted. ADA for Rights is marked on 15 June, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

The campaign raises awareness of rights abuses towards older people and encourages governments to attend the UN Open-ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG).

This is where a new UN convention is being discussed. Last year on 15 June 2012, older people from over 21 countries campaigned for older people’s rights.

ADA for Rights 2013

On 15 June 2013, ADA for Rights campaigners met with key decision-makers - including Presidents, Vice Presidents, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and other high-level politicians - to once again urge their governments to attend the UN Open-ended Working Group on Ageing. 

These meetings took place in 30 countries around the world, including Bangladesh, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Slovenia, South Korea, Tanzania, Thailand, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Zambia.

In Thailand, along with a meeting with representatives from the Office of the National Human Rights Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss the Thai government’s participation at the OEWG, there will be public awareness raising events, including interviews on community radio stations, a seminar discussing the rights of older people and public march through Chiang Mai.

In Tanzania, a delegation of older people will meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Home Affairs and the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to urge them to attend the OEWG for the first time and support the adoption of a UN convention on the rights of older people. The ADA delegation will also lobby for the introduction of domestic legislation that protects older men and women from violence and abuse.

In Bangladesh, The ADA delegation will meet with Dr Dipu Moni, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Dr Mizanur Rahman, the Chairman of the Human Rights Commission. In addition to the meeting, a debate is happening in cooperation with the Dhaka University Debating Society on the need for a UN convention on the rights of older people.

In Pakistan, we are hosting an event which will be attended by government officials from the Ministry of Human Rights, Social Welfare and other departments. The event will focus on the need for a UN convention and will urge the government to attend the OEWG.

Alongside the meetings, campaigners will be raising awareness in their communities about elder abuse and collecting signatures for the Age Demands Action petition

Take action now!

Your Government's positive participation in the OEWG meeting in August is critical to keeping this process moving forwards towards a new convention on the rights of older people. We urgently need your support as this is just two months away.

Please sign our Age Demands Action petition calling for a UN convention on the rights of older people. Every single signature contributes towards the global call for a convention and brings us closer to our target of 200,000.

Comment on this page

Comments are moderated before publication. Not all comments will be published.

Comments submitted for this page

  • JANKI BALLABH JHA (15th September 2013)

    Older people re the most vulnerable part of society.It is high time that United Nations forms specific enforceable rights of the elderly

  • Joseph Vijay Panicker (29th July 2013)

    Give them their rightful place

  • Waqas Ashfaq Qureshi (18th June 2013)

    Dear Ms. Fatimah Khalfan!

    Thanks for your comprehensive and informative comments. There is no doubt that older people in Pakistan facing a number of issues, keeping in view advocating to Government of Pakistan for legislation on the rights of older people.

    I am glad to know that you and your organization is willing to participate in ADA campaign. Please contact me at; waqas.qureshi@helpagesa.org

  • Joseph Vijay Panicker (17th June 2013)

    True Old people all over the world,need help from their Govts

  • Fatima Khalfan (13th June 2013)

    As a founder of VCARE in Pakistan, I can see that many older people who come to us at adult day care are totally depended on organizations or on their families. After living a life of hard work to earn money for the families and paid taxes to the government; and when they age, forcefully they have to become dependable on their children because no adequate facilities are available for an older civilian of this country. Older people, who are entitled for the pension, get only Rs. 4000/- per month which is not even suffice to buy nutritionist food for themselves. Even older people do not know about their rights. When I meet older people in communities, I realize how helpless they are in their health issues, housing needs. This is what instigated in me a desire to raise more awareness on what rights older people are entitled to.



    In Pakistan older people fear a long life since they are uncertain of who will take care of them after retirement and where will they go for any assistance; therefore, most of them pray for an early death because they don’t want to get depended on anyone. This we found worrisome that for how long will the older people of this country face social, mental, physical, financial issues in Pakistan. This is unfortunate of Pakistan that there are no policies available at the regional and national level and older people day is unheard of in Pakistan.



    VCARE celebrated older people day last year with full zeal and enthusiasm and more than 800 older people participated in the day in which we endorsed the policy frame work of the WHO on active and healthy ageing for Pakistan and this year on older people day we want to realize the voice for the older people of Pakistan in collaboration with the local stakeholders and would like Helpage Pakistan to collaborate with us in this event .



    We want to start our Age Demands Action on Health campaign from this year in Pakistan by writing articles in newspapers, promoting healthy ageing through media and during the awareness sessions on the community levels forward the theme of this year’s older people day Ageing demand action in Pakistan. I am hopeful that good results will soon be seen. To make the campaign a success, we will collaborate with the other service providers and stakeholders to support the event.

  • Sarah (HelpAge) (10th June 2013)

    Dear Mr Bajo, thank you for your message. The campaign is open to everyone so if you want to organise an event or promote the petition - please do! If you need any information or help, do not hesitate to email us at campaigns@helpage.org

  • Mr Ousman Bajo (10th June 2013)

    Hallo why their is no invitation for my country The Gambia. My organization always take part in all the issues about Aging, in my country. I will deem it absolutely necessary if my request is granted. Thanks.

  • Siddha Raj Upadhayay(Raj) (2nd June 2013)

    we want to join with you. We can help communication and awareness all over...

  • Halima Elkandu (1st June 2013)

    Almost all young people see older people as useless or at least under estimate them. They never respect the experiences accumulated during this long life. I do not know why they reflect their astonishments when they discover that this odd person is an expert or a knowledgeable person. It should be the first assumption & the unexpected one is to be ignorant & useless. Yes, young people have to be proud about themselves but never under estimate those who gave them this life & all those things they feel proud about. You need them while you were so small & helpless, & they need you while they are old & helpless. Remember, one day you will stand on their shoes. Be fair & respect all human being especially people with special needs.Almost all young people see older people as useless or at least under estimate them. They never respect the experiences accumulated during this long life. I do not know why they reflect their astonishments when they discover that this odd person is an expert or a knowledgeable person. It should be the first assumption & the unexpected one is to be ignorant & useless. Yes, young people have to be proud about themselves but never under estimate those who gave them this life & all those things they feel proud about. You need them while you were so small & helpless, & they need you while they are old & helpless. Remember, one day you will stand on their shoes. Be fair & respect all human being especially people with special needs.

  • Sarah (HelpAge) (31st May 2013)

    Cher Banywesize.
    Merci pour votre message. Nous voulons vous tenir au courant du processus OEWG et, si vous voulez, aussi accueillir votre contribution à une lettre qui sera signée par des ONG qui soutiennent le OEWG. Veuillez nous envoyer vos coordonnées et nous prendrons contact avec vous.

  • Barbara Campaigns Coordinator (31st May 2013)

    Dear All,
    Thank you for your comments. We are reaching a very critical time where older people rights and the UN convention is being discussed in New York. I would like to hear from you how we can get more voices be heard supporting the UN convention at OEWG? Any thoughts on this?

  • Barbara (31st May 2013)

    Dear Zacheus, thank you for your comment. I am very pleased to hear that you are interested in older people rights. The good news is that we do advocacy organisation in Zimbabwe and I am happy to share with you the details. Simply email me on: campaigns@helpage.org

  • BANYWESIZE BAHIZIRE WILBRORD (31st May 2013)

    La DRC compte beaucoup de personnse agées dont certaines vivent dans les home et les autres abandonnées à leur triste sort,je ne vois pas notre place,si à titre d'observateur vous pouvez nous inviter aussi,merci.

  • Zacheus (31st May 2013)

    There is growing disregard of older person rights in our communities in Zimbabwe yet there is no visible action group for older persons. HelAge, where are you!!!!!!!!!!?????????

  • Sailesh Mishra (31st May 2013)

    At Silver Inning Foundation we demand UN convention on the rights of older people.

  • James Mbungyuh Tseyah (30th May 2013)

    We should all stop age discrimination and stand up for equal rights, because we are all equal.

  • Thepiru-Uyukutu Albert (30th May 2013)

    It is good to take action on this activity about the elderly.

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