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Human Rights of Older Persons



Europe is currently undergoing an enormous demographic change with growing life-expectancy and reduced birth rates. This changing demography, resulting in an increasing number of older persons within society, poses big challenges to the human rights of these persons. According to a report by the World Health Organisation (European report on preventing elder maltreatment, 2011), at least 4 million elderly people in Europe are estimated to experience ill-treatment and 2500 are estimated to die each year from such treatment. Moreover, the elderly often suffer from poverty, violence, lack of adequate care, discrimination because of their age, and isolation.

Becoming increasingly aware of the difficulties that may face older persons, states and international organisations started to look at their protection from a human rights perspective. Within the Council of Europe, the drafting group CDDH-AGE has been set up in view of elaborating a non-binding instrument on the promotion of the human rights of older persons. The group held four meetings in the course of 2012 and 2013, with the participation of experts from member states and representatives of international organisations, civil society, national human rights institutions and other Council of Europe's intergovernmental committees.

The CDDH-AGE finalised the draft Recommendation on the promotion of the human rights of older persons and its draft explanatory memorandum at its last meeting (23-25 September 2013, documents). The CDDH subsequently examined and approved them at its 79th meeting (26-29 November 2013, meeting report, addendum IV and  V).

The Committee of Ministers adopted Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)2 to member States on the promotion of human rights of older persons on 19 February 2014 (press release). The principles of this new Recommendation are illustrated with examples of good practices, provided by member States or by observers. In accordance with paragraph 3, member States are encouraged to provide additional examples related to the implementation of the Recommendation, which will be published on this website.

Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)2

Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)2  to member states on the promotion of human rights of olders persons   CM/Rec(2014)2
Explanatory Memorandum to Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)2 Explanatory memorandum
Good national practices illustrating the implementation of Recommendation CM/(2014)2 Examples
Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)2 (unofficial translation into Polish from the website of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs) CM/Rec(2014)2 polish

Link to the work of the Group CDDH-AGE