Human Rights of Older Persons

Older persons face a number of specific challenges when it comes to the enjoyment of their human rights. For example, they often face age discrimination, particular forms of social exclusion, economic marginalisation due to inadequate pensions, or are more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, including from family members. They are also at a high risk of serious human rights violations which are frequent in large, institutional settings for long-term care, such as care homes.

While the human rights of older persons had been receiving more attention in recent years due to a rapidly aging population in Europe and the world in general, the COVID-19 pandemic put in stark contrast the human rights violations older persons have long been suffering, often hidden from the public eye. Older persons are at a higher risk of complications from the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but the situation was aggravated by many additional factors, including the failure of European states to protect residents of long-term care institutions, to provide life-saving interventions without age discrimination, or to mitigate the effects of social distancing on a group already facing high-levels of social exclusion and precarity.  

It is more evident than ever that the challenges faced by older persons need urgent and specific public policy responses.