International & National Principles, Rights and Responsibilities
of Older Persons
Argentinian Draft Resolution on a Declaration of Old
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.
ARGENTINIAN DRAFT RESOLUTION ON A DECLARATION OF OLD AGE RIGHTS
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
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;
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
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
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
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