AGE Platform Europe & the European Youth Forum: There is no age to enjoy human rightsThe ‘impatient’ young and the ‘stubborn’ old demand action against ageism!
Is it playing with fire to use the stereotypes that are at the roots of the discrimination we are combatting? Or is it the general indifference towards ageism that is a threat to our human rights? While we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10th December, AGE Platform Europe and the European Youth Forum jointly call European leaders to take action against age discrimination.
In practice, ageism is the most widespread form of discrimination, reported by 1 in 3 Europeans. “Ageism prevents people’s contribution to and participation in society because. It creates barriers to access the labour market, to enjoy the diversity of goods and services, or to exercise our civil and political rights” explains Sebastiaan Rood, Board Member of the European Youth Forum. It impacts our health and wellbeing in undermining our sense of autonomy and self-esteem in young or old age. Ageism is at the roots of economic vulnerability, social exclusion and reduced life expectancy.
“Yet ageism remains the last socially accepted form of discrimination and we tend to deny its negative effects. Because we consider it as a less serious and harmful discrimination; we fail to take action against it” recalls Anne-Sophie Parent, Secretary General of AGE Platform Europe. The #AgeingEqual campaign that run from 1st October to 10th December has shed light on various examples of pervasive ageism against older adults in our language, in laws, in health policies, in court decisions, in statistics… and against younger folks!
We will not wait 70 more years to be able to effectively enjoy our human rights. This is why on 6 December 2018, AGE Platform Europe and the European Youth Forum jointly organised a roundtable with European decision makers, equality bodies and non-discrimination organisations to discuss the way forward. On this occasion, we called on European leaders to take action against ageism and address it at the highest political level by:
1. Mainstreaming a rights-based approach to ageing in all EU policies, legislative proposals and impact assessments
2. Supporting research of how age discrimination is faced by specific groups (women, LGBTI people, people with disabilities and chronic diseases, people of colour and with an ethnic background, Roma people, etc.)
3. Collecting data and statistics for all age groups, without age limits
4. Campaigning to challenge the misconceptions around young and old age
One turning point might be the coming European elections in May 2019. Young and old must have equal opportunities as any other age group to work, engage as active citizens, be protected by our welfare systems. We are full-class citizens and we demand recognition as such!