Older people and human rights project

"When you mention human rights, it changes the atmosphere. Suddenly you are evoking a set of rights that they are banking on the fact you know nothing about! They take you more seriously."
Project participant, Hackney group

Human rights have huge potential to change the lives of older people - especially those who face abuse, neglect and isolation.

In April 2009, we released a joint report with Age UK entitled Older People and Human Rights. One of the key findings of this report was that although there is awareness and genuine concern over the issues faced by older people, these issues are rarely framed as human rights issues. Older people often don't even know that they have rights - or that local authorities are legally bound to uphold them. Read the report here.

BIHR is working on an innovative three year project with Age UK to support older people to use human rights to challenge poor and often undignified treatment from service providers and local authorities.

Four local Age Concern groups from different parts of the country will take part in the project. Age Concern staff and groups of older people are being trained in human rights, to empower them to influence the improvement of services and the way that older people are treated and cared for. The groups of older people are identifying their own small advocacy projects and are implementing them using human rights knowledge and methods, with ongoing support.

For example, the group in hackney have decided to lobby for the protection of the Human Rights Act, and Derby are making an older people and human rights video to use as an awareness raising tool in the region. Read about one of the initial training sessions here.

Access the updated 'Older People and Human Rights: A reference guide for professionals working with older people', written by BIHR in collaboration with Age UK here.

For more information about the project please contact Helen Wildbore on hwildbore@bihr.org.uk or 0207 882 5850. 

This project is kindly funded by Comic Relief.

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