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The fundamental rights of older people need to be better protected

The researchers at the Institute for Human Rights at Åbo Akademi University have contributed to the Fundamental Rights Report 2018.

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 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.

In addition, the Fundamental Rights Report 2018 explores the main developments of 2017 in the following specific areas: equality and non-discrimination; racism, xenophobia and related intolerance; Roma integration; asylum, borders and migration; information society, privacy and data protection; rights of the child; access to justice, including rights of crime victims; and implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The researchers at the Institute for Human Rights at Åbo Akademi University have contributed to the Fundamental Rights Report 2018 by providing relevant data to FRA on fundamental rights issues in Finland in 2017.

The Institute for Human Rights at Åbo Akademi University, together with the Finnish League for Human Rights, currently form the national focal point of FRA’s multidisciplinary research network, FRANET.

For more information:

Fundamental Rights Report 2018

Katarina Frostell
Project Manager at the Institute for Human Rights at Åbo Akademi University
E-mail: kati.frostell@abo.fi
Phone: +358 40537 0848

Institute for Human Rights at Åbo Akademi University:


FRA’s media contacts: media@fra.europa.eu / Tel: +43 1 580 30 642