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International & National Principles, Rights and Responsibilities of Older Persons

Argentinian Draft Resolution on a Declaration of Old Age Rights


In 1948, shortly after the birth of the United Nations, Argentina introduced a Declaration of Old Age Rights in the UN General Assembly for enactment by the UN. Although the UN General Assembly forwarded it to the UN Economic and Social Council for further study, no action was ever taken on the matter. It remains historically interesting because it is the first declaration to protect older persons introduced in the international arena.


Submitted by the UN General Assembly to the UN Economic and Social Council, November 26, 1948 (Document A/C.3/213/Rev.1)

The General Assembly,

Whereas the Members of the United Nations, by virtue of Article 55 of the Charter, are pledged to create conditions of stability and well-being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among nations, by promoting higher standards of living, full employment, and conditions of general progress and the solution of related social problems;

Whereas in order to achieve these ends, it is essential to provide for mankind an atmosphere of social stability such as is already being brought into being by the social rights now existent and those in the process of achievement; and

Taking into account that social questions are not concerned solely with poverty but with the human insecurity resulting from the discrimination created by society in the utilization of its wealth; and

Considering that the social progress arising from the concern shown by the working masses is affected by legislation designed to establish more precise, effective and widespread human safeguards, extending beyond the limits of man's working capacity;


That old age rights, having the same origin and purpose as other universal social safeguards, are essential for the improvement of the living conditions of the worker and for his welfare when his physical strength is at an end and he is exposed to poverty and neglect;

Takes special note of the declaration of old age rights submitted by the Argentine delegation and appended as follows:

1. Right to assistance

Every aged person has the right to full protection by his family. In the case of destitute persons, it is the duty of the State to provide such protection, either directly or by means of institutions or foundations created for the purpose or already existing, without prejudice to the right of the State or the said institutions to claim appropriate contributions from solvent relatives guilty of neglect, for the support of the aged person in question.

2. Right to accommodation

Every person, and therefore also those who have reached old age, has the inherent right to a healthful place of abode, and a minimum of home comfort.

3. Right to food

Special attention should be paid to the provision of a healthy diet adequate for the age and physical condition of the individual.

4. Right to clothing

In addition to the right to food, the inherent rights of the individual include that of adequate clothing, appropriate to the circumstances and climate.

5. Right to the care of physical health

The care and protection of the physical health of the aged must be the special and constant concern of institutions and Governments.

6. Right to the care of moral health

The right to free intellectual, as well as moral and religious, development, such as will enable the aged to maintain a state of moral health, should be safeguarded.

7. Right to recreation

Aged persons have the right to a reasonable minimum of recreation, to enable them to spend their leisure and retirement in a satisfactory manner.

8. Right to work

Every aged person has the right to prevent the diminution of his powers whilst still able to work, and institutions and States should assess his productive capacity and afford him possibilities of work.

9. Right to stability

Every aged person has the right to a definite and assured state of stability and a life free from distress and worry in the final years of his life.

10. Right to respect

Aged persons are entitled to the full respect and consideration of their fellow men.

Decides to transmit this declaration to the Economic and Social Council for detailed study in consultation with the International Labour Organization.