Rights policy

Older man in Jamaica fighting for his rights. The world is ageing and age discrimination is rife.

Existing human rights mechanisms do not adequately protect the rights of older women and men.

Older people are also discriminated against for a number of reasons other than age.

These include their sex, ethnic origin, where they live, disability, poverty, sexuality or level of literacy.

The difference we're determined to make

We're fighting to get older people rights recognised by calling for:

  • National legislation and policies that reduce age discrimination and protect the rights of older women and men.
  • Older women and men’s rights to be better addressed by existing human rights mechanisms including the Universal Periodic Review system at the Human Rights Council, special procedures and reporting on human rights treaties.
  • A special rapporteur on the rights of older people to promote and give visibility to the rights of older women and men. They will examine and report on violations of their rights, and make recommendations on how to better protect them.
  • A convention on the rights of older people. This will legally protect older women and men’s rights, clarify government responsibilities towards older women and men, improve accountability and provide a framework for policy and decision making.

Examples of our impact so far

  • Our submissions of evidence, presentations and facilitation of older people's participation in the UN Open-ended Working Group on Ageing has helped convince Member States that there are significant gaps in the protection of older people's rights.
  • The Advisory Committee to the Human Rights Council has recommended that a new convention and Special Rapporteur are necessary.
  • The UN Special Rapporteurs on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, on the right to health and on human rights and extreme poverty have included our recommendations on older people's rights in their reports to the Human Rights Council.
  • Submissions of our evidence to the committees that monitor human rights treaties on women's, economic, social and cultural rights have resulted in recommendations to governments on what they can do to better protect older women and men's rights in Mozambique, Tanzania, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Uganda and Moldova.
  • The Committee on the Elimination of the Discrimination Against Women took into account the experiences of the older women we work with in their general recommendation on states' obligations towards the rights of older women.

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