Protect the rights of older people

We all want to live in a society where we treat each other with fairness and respect, and where we can make decisions about our lives, no matter our age.

Human rights make sure this vision is embedded in the systems within our societies and in our behaviour.

Age discrimination

As we get older we face prejudice and discrimination because of our age. This leaves us excluded, considered different and restricted in what we can do.

It means we are often at risk of violence, denied access to services and face disproportionate levels of poverty.

Lack of protection

Existing international human rights systems and national laws fail to address this discrimination and protect our rights in older age.

In a survey of 133 countries, only 41 have laws to prevent violence and abuse of older people that are fully enforced. In low-income countries, more than 80% of people over retirement age do not receive a pension.

These are just a couple of examples of the existing gaps in legislation and lack of protection of our rights when we’re older.


A UN Convention for older people

A United Nations convention on the rights of older people would help us build a solid foundation from which effective national laws can emerge. It would ensure age discrimination is prohibited in the law, services uphold older people's dignity, and attitudes and behaviours towards us when we're older are more respectful.

UN Convention on the rights of older people

Creating a fairer world

We believe older people must be part of the growing discussion on their human rights.

Every year our consultations with older people worldwide reveal their views and experiences around their rights and topics such as dignity, autonomy and education.

Our work at national and international level is informed by these experiences.

We work with civil society and partner organisations to promote older people’s rights in national legislation and policies. Check out our Age Equality Report that examines and compares the legal frameworks for prohibiting age discrimination in 12 countries from across the world, analysing them for consistency with international legal standards.

And we support civil society engagement with governments around a UN convention on the rights of older people.

Efforts towards a UN convention work if we all take part. To have a strong voice, we’re working with more than 400 organisations as part of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People (GAROP).

Additionally, a set of guidelines for civil society organisations wishing to influence their governments to support a convention were launched in 2019.  The FAIR guidelines are organised as four “steps” towards a new convention, helping organisations navigate their advocacy journey with practical tips and clear milestones.

Together we’re committed to strengthening the rights and voice of older people globally.

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