Nearly 60% of Europeans consider being old a disadvantage when looking for work. Societies often view older people as burdens. Too often we overlook the basic human rights of our older people. This year, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in its 2018 Fundamental Rights Report explores how a rights-based approach towards respect for older people is starting to happen.
“Fundamental rights are not just for the young. They protect everyone regardless of age,” says FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty. “We need to do a better job of protecting the older members of our communities. It’s high time to translate political commitments into tangible actions. We must stand up for the civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights of older people.”
This year’s Fundamental Rights Report dedicates its focus chapter to equal treatment for older people and respect for their fundamental rights. It recognises growing awareness of the issue and how policies are changing to better respect their rights. However, it advises against a one-size-fits-all approach as barriers faced by women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities may be compounded as they age. It also warns how young people today may face difficulties in later life if their education is poor and they cannot find work.
It underlines the need to broaden protection against discrimination on the grounds of age by adopting the EU’s Equal Treatment Directive that extends anti-discrimination protection beyond employment to access to services, housing and healthcare, etc. It also suggests making better use of EU funds to promote inclusion and equal treatment for older people.
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