Rights of Older People

All older people, in every country, should live lives free from discrimination, and should fully enjoy all their human rights.

The Human Rights Measurement Initiative tracks how well countries treat their people, across 13 areas of human rights. We produce robust, independent data, freely available on our online Rights Tracker.

On the Rights Tracker you can see how countries treat older people, and for which human rights older people are experiencing violations.

Here’s a short video showing how you can use the Rights Tracker to find information on the experiences of Older People:

Rights violations

In 2021 we asked human rights experts in 39 countries about human rights violations.

Experts who participated in our research identified older people as being at risk of various rights violations in these countries (this is a screenshot from the Rights Tracker):

Safety from the State case study: Vanuatu

In Vanuatu our experts identified older people as being at risk of violation of the following rights:

  • freedom from arbitrary or political arrest or detention
  • freedom from torture and ill-treatment
  • freedom from forced disappearance
  • freedom from extrajudicial execution

For example, 40% of our experts in Vanuatu identified older people as being at risk of violation of the right to freedom from torture and ill-treatment, as shown in the word cloud on our Rights Tracker:

Older people at risk in Vanuatu. See data on our Rights Tracker.

Empowerment case study: Malaysia

Our experts in Malaysia identified older people of being at risk of violation of all three empowerment rights we measure. For example, 63% of our experts identified them of being at risk of violation of the right to opinion and expression:

Older people at risk in Malaysia. See the data on our Rights Tracker.

Quality of Life case study: South Korea

Our experts in South Korea identified older people of being at risk of violation of all five economic and social rights we measure. In particular, 29% of our experts identified them of being at risk for the right to food.

When asked for additional information, our experts indicated that ‘Older people, particularly those living without family’ were at risk.

 

Older people at risk in South Korea. See data on our Rights Tracker.

 

The rights of older people in Brazil, Mozambique, and Australia

Older people in Brazil experience wide range of rights violations

Brazil human rights experts identified older people as being at particular risk of violations of nearly every right we measure.

The Brazil government needs to do much more to protect people in this community and make sure their human rights are respected.

Experts said that they were affected by breaches of the rights to:

  • education
  • food
  • health
  • housing
  • work
  • freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention
  • freedom from disappearance
  • freedom from extrajudicial execution
  • freedom from torture and ill-treatment
  • assembly and association
  • opinion and expression
  • participation in government.

Older people are at risk in Mozambique

Mozambique human rights experts identified older people as being at particular risk of violations for many of the rights we measure.

The Mozambique government needs to do much more to protect people in this community and make sure their human rights are respected.

Experts said that they were affected by breaches of the rights to:

  • education
  • food
  • health
  • housing
  • work
  • freedom from torture and ill-treatment
  • assembly and association
  • opinion and expression
  • participation in government.

Experts highlight threats to older people in Australia

Our human rights experts in Australia indicated older people as being at particular risk of violations for many of the rights we measure.

The government needs to do much more to protect people in this community and make sure their human rights are respected.

Experts said that they were affected by breaches of the rights to:

  • food
  • health
  • housing
  • work
  • freedom from torture and ill-treatment
  • opinion and expression

Our experts also indicated the following when we asked for additional information:

  • Elderly people living in longterm residential care facilities were not always allowed hospital access
  • Elderly people were often confined for long periods of time by care facilities
  • Elderly people, particularly those at the Newmarch House Nursing Home in Sydney, were prevented from accessing medical treatment in hospitals during an outbreak at the facility.

Further resources

Thanks for your interest in HRMI. To explore our human rights scores, please visit our Rights Tracker, where you can find data by country, right, or people group. If you find our work useful, you may like to support us on Patreon.

A demo of the Rights Tracker and a specific video on ‘older people’ can be found in our  YouTube channel.

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