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A UN convention on the rights of older people

Leading writers explain why a UN convention for older people is necessary and why it is time for the UK to take the lead. Cover of Time to Lead report - Marcos in Colombia

Executive Summary

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) does not contain any prohibition of discrimination on the basis of age. In this report, we detail why a UN Convention is needed to protect the rights of older people, now more than ever. 

A new international convention on the rights of older people would transform debates about how to respond to global ageing. It would clearly articulate the rights which every older person holds that would enable them to continue contributing to society across their lifetimes. 

There is much evidence that older people’s fundamental human rights are routinely breached across a wide range of areas. This report details these in the following areas: 

  • Unequal access to healthcare 
  • Lack of dignified long term care
  • Lack of opportunity in the labour market
  • There is poverty and lack of  income security

The report also details recommendations for the UK Government and the steps it can take to strengthen rights worldwide. 

How can I use this report?

Clearly, international human rights law and institutions alone cannot solve the problems of abuse and discrimination experienced by older women and men. However, they have a crucial part to play.

Our case is simple: people of all ages need to be able to fully participate and to fully contribute as equal members of society, safe in the knowledge that they will be treated with dignity and respect and have their basic rights protected. This must be as true for older people as for everyone else.

As it has been so often in the past, the UK should be at the heart of making this a reality.

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Last updated: Aug 22 2018

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