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International & National Principles, Rights and Responsibilities of Older Persons

National Statements - A Charter of Rights and Freedoms of Older People in Belgiuma


This Charter was developed by a "university of the third age" - the "Université des Aînés" in Louvain, Belgium - in consultation with both young and old and many groups concerned with aging. For further information, contact:

Jacques Lefèvre
President, Université des Aînés
Place Montesquieu, 1, bte 1
1348 Louvain-la-NeuveBelgium

Considering the constant increase in the number and proportion of older people in our communities,

Considering the unprecedented and irreversible phenomenon of increased life expectancy,

Considering that the older members of the population are progressively healthier due to improved living conditions,

Considering that the number of frail and dependent old people is a new challenge to our communities,

Considering that our older people are not only the guardians of our collective memory but also the creators of a new culture, a new economy and then a new interdependent community,


This Charter is an ideal to be attained progressively, respecting the rights and freedoms of every human being, regardless of age.

Article 1: Concerning personal dignity

Every citizen has a right to respect and dignity from a community which accepts him and treats him well. All age discrimination should be banned.

Article 2: Concerning freedom of life style

Every old person should be allowed to choose freely his way of life and his housing according to his needs, regardless of the state of his health. He should be allowed to practice the religion of his choice.

Article 3: Concerning safety rights

Every old person has the right to public and private safety.

Article 4: Concerning rights to a sound environment.

Every old person should be able to move freely and live in a sound environment.

Article 5: Concerning rights of information

Every citizen, regardless of age, should be adequately informed in order to prepare for and control his own aging process.

Article 6: Concerning the right to health

Every old person should have access to essential care and medical services. Loss of autonomy should be prevented. Care and support should be available for the dying.

Article 7: Concerning the right to a decent income

Every old person has the right to a decent income.

Article 8: Concerning the right to manage his own resources

Every old person should be free to manage his own resources and maintain control over his inheritance.

Article 9: Concerning the right to active citizenship

Every old person should be allowed full exercise of his democratic rights at any level.

Article 10: Concerning personal rights

Every old person, regardless of where he lives, should be represented on all governing bodies.

Article 11: Concerning the right to education

Every old person should have access to cultural and educational facilities at all levels. He should be able to continue learning to develop personal and creative capacity.

Article 12: Concerning the right to career choice

Every old person should be allowed to choose freely the time and conditions of his retirement.

Article 13: Concerning the right to social and cultural usefulness

Every old person should have the opportunity to take up a position of value to the community. He should have access to cultural, sporting and leisure facilities.