Human rights and specific groups

Human rights are universal, that’s the very essence of their existence.  They inform how we all deserve to be treated. However, certain groups can face discrimination in claiming their rights making it more difficult for them to be enjoyed. In response to this reality, the UN created additional treaties which seek to protect the rights of women, children, disabled people and racial and ethnic minorities.

This is fundamental and helps to keep our society fair, just and equal. At present there isn’t a treaty of this kind for older people but in 1991 the UN produced the, “UN Principles for Older Persons.” This declaration is an important statement on the human rights protection which must be afforded to older people and should be used in the UK to shape policy making and practice.

Scottish Care and older people’s rights

At Scottish Care we work directly with older people to empower them to understand and claim their rights. We also work with our members who are providing care services to support them to take a human rights based approach which respects, protects and fulfils these rights in practice.

Over the last 8 months we have been speaking to older people to help us understand the human rights issues which may affect us as we get older. We focused specifically on health and social care but understand that there are many other issues; loneliness, poverty and poor housing can all be examined through a human rights lens but these are for another day.

Human rights issues identified by older people

  • Right to respect for private and family life 
  • Right not to be treated in an inhumane or degrading way
  • Right not to be discriminated against
  • Right to liberty
  • Right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  • Right to freedom of expression

These human rights are broken down and explained in the context of care in both of our Conventions. The Convention on the Rights of Residents in Care Homes for Adults and Older People and the Convention on the Rights of People Receiving Care at Home and Housing Support (hyperlink) explain these rights and how to promote and embed them in different care settings.

A case study and video of the process created by the Scottish Human Rights Commission is available here: insert video

Find out more

If you want to find out more about Scottish Care’s work on human rights and older people contact carlyn.miller@scottishcare.org.