Rights abuses: Older people speak out

Human Rights Day is celebrated annually on 10 December.

This year the theme is "Human rights 365"; based on the conviction that human rights need to be celebrated every day, all year round.

We believe that existing human rights mechanisms do not adequately protect the rights of older women and men and we are working to change this.

Click on the images below to hear older people around the world talk about age discrimination and rights abuses.

Wasiti, Fiji: Retired but not tired

Wasiti was forced to retire at 55, even though she feels she still has so much to contribute.

We are campaigning for legislation against age discrimination, and want mandatory retirement laws scrapped.

If you agree that people shouldn't be forced out of a job because of their age, sign our Age Demands Action petition.

Serena, Mozambique: Beaten for being older 

Serena is repeatedly persecuted and beaten because she is an older women. People think she is witch and that she eats children.

We are fighting for the rights of older men and women to be better protected by national and international law.

To take a stand against violence like this, sign our petition for older people's rights.

Richard, Kenya: "My house was destroyed."

Richard's house was destroyed by a mob who accused his wife of being a witch, just because she is old.

At HelpAge, we are working to stop this from happening. We work with communities to change people's attitudes towards older people, as well as ensuring that governments put in place laws and policies to better protect older people.

To stand up for older people's rights, sign our Age Demands Action petition.


Raira, Kyrgyzstan: "I can't pay my bills."

Raira says: "Even those in Kyrgyzstan lucky enough to have pensions cannot afford basic living expenses."

In the long term, pensions can change the lives of entire families, as they are often invested in education and business.

If you think older people deserve a decent pension, sign our petition.

Maria, Philippines: Speaking out

Maria believes older people could do so much for their communities if they had more support.

We work to support older people around the world so their invaluable contribution to society as carers, educators and mediators is recognised. 

If you agree, add your voice to Maria's by signing our Age Demands Action petition.

Leonardo, Peru: Trying to make ends meet

Leonardo works all day in the fields yet he barely earns enough to support his family.

We strive to secure better working conditions and legislation for older workers. We also want older people to be included in education and training programmes and credit schemes, so that older people like Leonardo won't have to struggle.

If you think older people deserve better than this, sign our Age Demands Action petition.

Kenneth, Jamaica: Talking about P-E-N-S-I-O-N-S

Kenneth wants his government to punish employers who steal their workers' pensions.

We work to empower older people like Kenneth to become confident enough to voice their own demands for the pensions, benefits and healthcare they are entitled to.

If you agree, sign our Age Demands Action petition.

Irma, Peru: Discriminated against

Irma is discriminated against because of where she comes from.

We believe that existing human rights mechanisms do not adequately protect the rights of older women and men.

To stand up against discrimination, sign our Age Demands Action petition.

Dorothy, UK: Fighting for her right to healthcare

Dorothy had to fight to get a bone scan just because she is over 80.

HelpAge is working to improve access to age-friendly health services for older people.

If you believe in the right to decent, free healthcare regardless of age, sign our Age Demands Action petition.

Dhala, Bangladesh: Refused a pension 

Dhala has been refused a pension because he is a snake charmer.

HelpAge works to stop discrimination based on age and the violation of older people's human rights. 

Help us fight this kind of discrimination. Sign our Age Demands Action petition.

Anwarra, Bangladesh: Too old for healthcare?

Anwarra has been refused healthcare because she is old and poor.

We are working to ensure older people have access to the healthcare they deserve.

Find what happened to Anwarra unacceptable? Sign our Age Demands Action petition.

To stand up for older people's rights, sign our petition demanding a UN convention on the rights of older people.

Post a comment | 9 comments

Comments submitted for this page

  • Professor Megan-Jane Johnstone (30 November 2014)

    As well as being of important practical value as a 'moral compass' in society, a convention on the rights of older people has important symbolic value since it also serves as a potent reminder of the respect and protections due to older people as human beings especially when vulnerable.

  • Roberto Bigarella (28 May 2014)

    Is time to older people stand up for their rights

  • ian (10 October 2013)

    We all get old because the DNA was messed up many thousands of years ago. There was a time when people lived for hundreds of years The young need to wake up and realize that they are the end of this round of humanity and will get older quicker, it will be the older people who will have to support them.

  • Manikonda Prakash Rao (20 March 2013)

    I am from Hyderabad, India. During BJP Govt, a pension scheme was introduced allowiong the senior citizens to have pensions from post offices at the rate of 9% per per year on their deposits in post offices. No change has been made sofar. Many years have gone by, the present governements have not taken stemps to increase it. Further, the maximum limit on deposits was fixed by the then Governament was only 15 lakhs. Now it should be raised to 25 lakhs as the money value has gone down. I request helpage International to take up this cause.Further the interest rate also should be raised to 11% now.

    M.Prakash Rao

  • Benjamin Musunza (08 March 2012)

    This is a wonderfull job. we need to care about the old people since they were our parents parents.If were it not for them we could not be existing. I like this. I wish i can work with you on this project.

  • MD.NIAMUL KABIR (20 December 2011)

    I am a lawyer working at Chuadanga District Judge court in Bangladesh. I also engaged voluntary organizations.In my experience I have seen a big discrimination against aged people. Many national and International organizations are working mainly on the rights of women and others. But I am very sorry to say that the work for the aged people specially poor countries are too poor.
    After that it is hopeful that helpage.org like International organization is working for the older aged community. go on....

  • Ateeq ul Rasool (22 September 2011)

    I am Ateeq ul Rasool from chakwal pakistan working as field officer in an organization. While working in the field i have witnessed mainy old people aging near 60 or above working .most of them are vendors and cobblers i felt very sorry to see them working the whole day for a very little sum of money .almost all of them are suffering from dofferent diseses .my pint is that Government an United Nation should do something to provide them at least basic facilities like health food etc.they are a great source of learning for young people as they have vast experience regarding life skills etc.

  • SOCHIVANNY HOY (18 September 2011)

    I'm Director of Positive Change for Cambodia, I comment UN Women should support Women Old Age in Cambodia, and next Year will report to Human Right Council on HR to Old Age. This year, I saw only Bangladesh report at UN Human Right Council on Help Old Age,
    and no from Cambodia, should be provide support more poject to Cambodia to Old Age is the important Resourses for the Young and the same for the Young from 16 to 30 is should be support more to Cambodia, to they have Knowledge, skills, Abilities and Potencial to Led-Community Livelihhood with Accountability and transpaency in Demorcratic Systems, Cambodia ther unemployed, should be improve, their Capacity to them, Such as the Women Factories, when they stopped from Companies they will become, daily works at Restaurents, Bardancing and to be sex workers and the last worst to hers and families.

  • jacob atkins (20 July 2011)

    hello i love old people

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