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In recent years, various stakeholders have called for more visibility and increased use of international human rights standards to address the dire situation of millions of older women and men around the world. By virtue of the universal scope of all rights, the whole range of internationally recognized human rights standards and principles, as contained in core international human rights treaties, also covers and protects older persons.
Political Declaration and Madrid Plan of Action (2002)
The Madrid Plan of Action focuses on three priority areas: older persons and development; advancing health and well-being into old age; and ensuring enabling and supportive environments. It is a resource for policymaking, suggesting ways for Governments and other actors to reorient the ways in which their societies perceive, interact with and care for their older citizens.
Brasilia Declaration (2007)
At the Second Regional Intergovernmental Conference on Ageing in Latin America and the Caribbean, emphasis was directed toward the responsibility of Governments to promote and provide basic social and health-care services and facilitate access to older person, bearing in mind their specific needs. It further noted the creation of legal protection frameworks.
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (1979)
Section E of Article 11 grants “(e) The right to social security, particularly in cases of retirement, unemployment, sickness, invalidity and old age and other incapacity to work, as well as the right to paid leave”, and generally protects women of advanced age from discrimination based on gender.
Resolution 66/173. Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing
The 2011 UN Secretary-General’s report on ageing focuses, for the first time, on the human rights of older persons. The report shows growing international concern for the situation of older men and women particularly in relation to age-related discrimination; violence and abuse; and lack of special measures and protection mechanisms. The report devotes attention to critical ESC rights, such as the right to health, to social security, to work and to an adequate standard of living.
You can also access a comprehensive list of international standards on the human rights of older persons including relevant Resolutions and Reports through this UN webpage.
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966)
This Convention includes highly relevant provisions for the protection of human rights of older persons, such as the rights to health, to an adequate standard of living, to freedom from torture, legal capacity and equality before the law.
Article 5 in Part I of CERD contains provisions for the rights of older persons regardless of race or ethnicity to civil and political rights including the right to housing, work, public health, medical care, social security and social services, and to equal participation in cultural activities.
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966)
The ICCPR contains provisions that protect the civil and political rights for all persons without exclusion of those in advanced age, noting equal protection from discrimination, inhuman treatment, and violations of liberty, life, and political freedom.