29 September 2021

As the world commemorates the UN International Day of Older Persons 2021, supporters of the Age With Rights Campaign from across the globe are urging governments to move forward with the drafting of a new UN convention on the rights of older persons.

Older persons face distinct challenges claiming their rights. Government and societal responses to the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affected older people globally and exacerbated existing inequalities. Older persons faced even more violence, abuse and neglect, stigmatisation and hate speech, and the denial of life-saving treatments.

The importance of fully protecting older persons’ rights is evident in this year’s UN International Day theme of “Digital Equity For All Ages”. According to the UNDESA policy brief, ‘Leveraging digital technologies for social inclusion’, older persons are being left behind across all regions[i]. This is especially evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when digital access is pivotal to social interaction and services. As the rest of the digitally capable world adapts to keep pace with changes, many older persons are denied proper access to online resources or only just starting to connect digitally.

In response to the barriers that prevent older persons from fully enjoying their rights, the Age With Rights Campaign is calling for governments around the world to commit to the drafting of a UN convention on the rights of older persons.

Dr. Kiran Rabheru, the Chair of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People said ‘We have all been shocked at the violations of older people’s rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. A new UN convention would provide important guidance for governments and other stakeholders to make sure this does not happen again and we can all age with our rights fully protected.’

We have seen ageism and the denial of our rights worsen during COVID-19. The International Day of Older Persons is an important moment for us to celebrate older persons and ask for concrete action for our rights. Today we join forces with other campaigners in the Age With Rights movement around the world to call for governments’ support to start drafting a UN convention urgently.’

[i] UN/DESA Policy Brief #92: Leveraging digital technologies for social inclusion | Department of Economic and Social Affairs

Further information

2021 UNIDOP: “Digital Equity for All Ages” | United Nations For Ageing

– UN Secretary-General Policy Brief: ‘Impact of COVID-19 on Older Persons

Age With Rights campaign


Established in 2011, the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People (GAROP) was born out of the need to strengthen the rights and voice of older people globally. Today, GAROP is a network of over 390 members worldwide, united in our work to strengthen and promote the rights of older persons. Our mission is to support and enhance civil society engagement with Member States and National Human Rights Institutions at national, regional and international levels towards a UN convention on the rights of older persons.



Secretariat Coordinator, Ellen Graham, info@rightsofolderpeople.org