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Protecting the Rights of Older People: 10 Reasons Why We Need to Act

By: HelpAge International

The UN Open-ended Working Group on Strengthening the Human Rights of Older People (OEWG) discussed older people’s human rights.

We are asking organizations to join us by signing up to the attached call to strengthen legally-binding standards for older people and the development of a new protection system. We will use it at the OEWG, and older people will use it when they meet with their governments to show the support of civil society for their dignity.

The OEWG will discuss potential gaps in protection of older people’s rights in a number of areas including protection from violence and abuse; access to justice; and autonomy, health, and independence; as well as solutions to these challenges. Our research and experience, and thousands of older people in low- and middle-income countries tell us that existing human rights frameworks have utterly failed older people.

The need for improvement is urgent, but every country is not convinced of this. We, as civil society, have a critical role to play in making sure the OEWG results in positive action for addressing the violations older people face. We have spent the last months visiting country missions in New York and Geneva, as well as in capitals of various low- and middle-income countries, securing their positive participation in the upcoming meeting. Older people themselves have mobilized to meet with their governments and encourage their participation from the Philippines to Tanzania.