Never too old for human rights: New Commission can help eradicate ageism!  

Annemie, 68, visited over 100 houses, before finding a place where she was asked to pay one year’s rent in advance[1]. Joan, 65, is considered too old for psychological support despite the stroke that she had 2 years earlier[2]. Sue, 60, was not diagnosed for HIV before her ex-lover died from the disease[3]. Adamo, 77, got scammed after a gas company offered him to pay cheaper energy bills[4]. Tom, 63, is left with a monthly illness benefit of 193 euros because a doctor had certified him as unfit to work after his stroke[5].

Like Annemie, Joan, Sue, Adamo, Tom, we are all potential victims of ageism. Yet until now, discrimination and prejudice on the basis of age has only been marginally addressed by European insitutions. Our fundamental rights – to housing, to work, to education and health care, to political participation, to protection from violence and abuse, among others– are inalienable rights, at all ages!

The commitments of the new Commission are promising, the intentions to adopt an intersectional approach to all equality dossiers too. Now, concrete actions can be taken to translate these commitments into tangible results and ensure every day are human rights day.

On 10th December, International Human Rights Day, we reiterate our call on the new European Commission to do its utmost to protect our human rights in older age with:

  • A European legislation that prohibits age discrimination beyond the area of employment;
  • A strict monitoring of the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to ensure it equally applies to older persons;
  • An ambitious Gender Equality Strategy that tackles the challenges faced by older women
  • Active contributions to the UN debates around a possible new legal instrument to strengthen the protection of human rights of older persons.
  • European strategy to fight elder abuse and ensure good quality care.