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We’re supporting the Global Rally on the Rights of Older People

From 8-14 April 2024, campaigners from around the world will gather for a ‘Global Rally’ on the rights of older people. Their message for governments convening in May for the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing is “It’s time to start drafting a convention on the rights of older people.” In the lead up to the “Global Rally”, several thousands of people have signed a petition on change.org to add their voices to this call.

Between 20 to 24 May 2024, the United Nations Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG), with the purpose of strengthening the protection of the human rights of older persons, will host its 14th meeting in New York. In previous meetings, attendees have heard compelling evidence on why a convention is needed. A lack of specific protections against elder abuse and poor access to vital healthcare services are just two of the many areas where better protection and promotion of older people’s rights is necessary. This year governments will negotiate recommendations about how best to address the gaps in the protection of older people’s rights to present for consideration at this meeting.

The Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People (GAROP) organised the Age With Rights “Global Rally” to demand decisive action from UN member states so that the older people who took to the streets to call for a convention on their rights might see one drafted in their lifetimes. GAROP is a network of over 400 organisations worldwide united to strengthen and promote the rights of older persons. The Rally is a key part of the Age with Rights campaign, calling on governments to support the stronger protection and promotion of older people’s human rights.

International human rights laws apply to everyone, regardless of age, but older people’s rights are mostly invisible under international law and age discrimination is widespread. Elder abuse is tolerated at family, community and national level in many countries, and older people struggle to realise their economic and social rights like essential healthcare services and social protection.

A new UN convention would recognise older persons as rights holders and provide valuable guidance for governments and others to ensure that age discrimination is prohibited in law, that services uphold the dignity of older persons, and attitudes and behaviours towards older persons are respectful.

Margaret Young, the Chair of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People, said “Imagine dignified, secure, and self-determined lives in our older age, no matter who we are or where we are. To make this a reality, we need a UN Convention on the rights of older people.

This UN Convention will promote the full enjoyment of our rights in older age. It will protect our older selves from social and economic inequities, ageism, and age discrimination. It will guide laws and policies to recognize older people as equal members of society. It will strengthen accountability toward older people as rights holders.

Given its transformative ability and potential, I call more of us to stand up for the UN Convention so that older people of today and all of us tomorrow can age with rights!”.

Older people often encounter difficulties in accessing the necessary work, education, and healthcare essential for a dignified and fulfilling life. It is therefore crucial to prioritize the full protection of their rights.

Join us and sign the petition urging governments to start drafting a United Nations (UN) convention on the rights of older people without delay, click here to be part of the change.

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