AGE General Assembly and Annual Conference 2015 call for a human-rights based approach to safeguard dignity in old age

Brussels, 20th November 2015

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The recent tragic events in Paris assaulted the core of our European values of human rights and fundamental freedoms. They showcased that while in periods of social, economic or political crisis the universal respect of these common values is at stake, all Europeans should remain unified and take their responsibility to ensure that nobody is left behind. In this difficult climate, AGE members reaffirmed their common vision of an inclusive society based on equal rights and responsibilities where social and economic justice is guaranteed within and across generations and population groups.

"In the current time of societal, political and economic turmoil, the right of everyone to live and age in dignity, whatever their social or economic conditions, ethnic origin or belief, needs - more than ever - to be protected and enhanced," highlights Marjan Sedmak, AGE Platform Europe's President, today at AGE Annual Conference on 'EU's role in protecting older people's social and economic rights'. "AGE members also insisted that fundamental rights should be embedded in every policy agenda at EU and national levels, while ensuring that the plight of the most vulnerable people, is adequately addressed", adds AGE Platform Europe's Secretary-General, Anne-Sophie Parent.

Older people are the only group that is specifically protected by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (Article 25) but has not yet been the object of a specific EU policy priority, neither in EU's internal or external action. The predominant policy response to demographic change has tended so far toward the implementation of austerity measures/budget cuts – accelerated and supported through the European Semester reforms. While the European Union is uniquely placed to promote fundamental rights, its failure to address the rights of older persons is widening structural ageism and increasing the risk of human rights violations against this group.

Bringing together civil society, academics, industry and EU representatives, AGE Annual Conference has explored how, using a rights-based approach, the EU and its member states can provide adequate protection against age discrimination and ensure dignity in old age. The conference outcomes will feed into AGE campaign Towards an Age-Friendly EU and will contribute to the creation of age-friendly environments across Europe, supported by the Silver Economy as an additional tool to support the rights of Europe's ageing populations in practice.

Yesterday, prior to their Annual Conference, representatives from AGE member organisations gathered to adopt their General Assembly Declaration 2015 (version française-Italian version) which presents the main policy guidelines for AGE work in the coming year. The document suggests a number of recommendations for a better recognition of and respect of older people's rights in the European Union.

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Friday 20 November 2015
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