Older campaigners stand up for their rights on UN International Day of Older Persons


Campaigners on International Day of Older Persons 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya
Thousands of older activists in more than 25 countries globally are meeting, marching, demonstrating to call on their governments to recognise and support older people's human rights on Monday 1 October, the UN's International Day of Older Persons.
The events are part of the Age Demands Action (ADA) campaign coordinated by HelpAge International, a global network of more than 130 organisations in 80 countries.
Over the past decade, with support from high-profile leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, ADA has involved tens of thousands of older women and men in challenging injustices such as discrimination by age, gender and disability, and elder abuse and violence.
In recent years, ADA campaigners successfully engaged governments to address these issues and protect older people's rights to social protection and health and care. Activists are also advocating for a new UN convention on the rights of older people.
Untold stories
To celebrate International Day of Older Persons, and mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, HelpAge International and its global network partners have created a digital photo wall of untold stories. They detail the lives, achievements, hopes and challenges faced by older campaigners, including those caught up in conflict and humanitarian crises.
Justin Derbyshire, Chief Executive of HelpAge International, said: "Thanks to the hard work of campaigners worldwide, we have come a long way over the past 10 years to raise awareness that older people's rights need protecting.
"This year is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but still older people face discrimination in their daily lives, and their rights remain invisible in international and national law. We are calling for a UN convention as the most effective way to promote and protect the rights of all older people globally."
Examples of Age Demands Action campaign activities on 1 October include:
  • Kyrgyzstan: AgeNet conference of leaders from across Central Asia in Bishkek.
  • Nepal: 1,000 people march through Kathmandu for older human rights campaigners.
  • Serbia: Olympiad of sport, health and culture for the third age with 1,000 participants and exhibition by acclaimed 93-year-old photographer Harvey Lloyd.
  • Sri Lanka: around 6,000 older people are taking part in walks and marches.
  • Zimbabwe: older people will march to submit a petition for better basic services.
Major events are also taking place in over 25 countries including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Moldova, Myanmar, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand, the Philippines, Uganda and Vietnam.
Jemma Stovell, Campaigns Manager at HelpAge International said: "Older campaigners at the grassroots level are key agents of change, but their individual and collective actions have not been sufficiently recognised. International Day of Older Persons is our chance to tell those untold stories to celebrate the work of older campaigners and combat ageist stereotypes."
Read and share the untold stories

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