Ombudswoman Tena Šimonović Einwalter is preparing a special report on the state of human rights and discrimination against older persons, set to be submitted to the Croatian Parliament this autumn. The aim is to raise awareness about the human rights of older persons in Croatia, direct the relevant authorities towards their stronger protection, and encourage more public discussion about the rights of this population group.

October 1st marks the International Day of Older Persons , providing an excellent opportunity to highlight various issues faced by older individuals. It is extremely important to address these issues throughout the year, starting with the fact that as many as one third of older persons in Croatia are at risk of poverty, and as many as half of older persons are living alone.

The special value of the report lies in the fact that the Croatian Parliament will debate it, providing the opportunity for the MPs to pay a significant amount of attention to the various problems faced by older people and the recommendations aimed at addressing them.

Although the human rights and discrimination of older people are already covered to a large extent in the Ombudswoman’s regular annual reports as well as in her special report on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on human rights and equality, this will be the first report presented to the Croatian Parliament exclusively dedicated to the human rights of older persons.

The special report will provide an overview of the issues faced by older persons and of the recommendations aimed at strengthening their human rights concerning various areas of life, including poverty, the right to healthcare, pensions, care homes, elder abuse, abuse of maintenance agreements, palliative care, as well as stereotypes, prejudice, discrimination against older persons, and their position in the labor market.

The report will be based on years of our institution’s work dedicated to the strengthening of the protection of the rights of older persons. This includes handling complaints, analyzing relevant research and data from the public authorities requested by the Ombudswoman for the preparation of this report, as well as our international activities in this area.

Furthermore, this report is unique because reporting on the rights of older persons is not regulated in the same manner by the international legal framework as is reporting on other social groups or topics. For example, within the United Nations, there are conventions for the rights of persons with disabilities, children’s rights, discrimination against women, and racial discrimination.

In this regard, the Ombudswoman advocates for the adoption of a convention for the protection of the rights of older persons within the UN framework. This would introduce a mechanism for member states to regularly report on the state of human rights and equality of older persons.

It is worth noting that the International Day of Older Persons was established by the United Nations to encourage discussions on topics related to older individuals, including their human rights, and to highlight their contributions to the development of societies.

For more information on the rights of older people, you can refer to:

The chapter “Rights of Older Persons” from the Ombudswoman’s 2022 Annual Report.

The chapter “Age-Based Discrimination” from the Ombudswoman’s 2022 Annual Report.