Human rights laws are no aid to users

The potential for human rights principles to improve older people’s services is not being fulfilled because of ignorance among service providers and suspicion among older people, according to a report published this week.

The Age Concern study said public bodies saw human rights as legal obligations to be complied with rather than positive duties to promote equality and dignity for older people.

But older people also associated human rights with political correctness and a “compensation culture”, which led failure to seek redress under the Human Rights Act 1998.

The report called for public bodies to be placed under a duty to promote age equality, similar to the disability equality duty due to come into force in December. It also called for the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights, due to come into being next year, to pick a high profile older people’s service delivery issue to campaign on as a priority.

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