Basic Rights of the Elderly -

Focus on the Elderly

Basic and human rights apply to all humans equally – regardless of their age. However, especially young and elderly people are often confronted with various problems when it comes to exercising their rights.

The special need for protection of children and adolescents has been an international issue for some time now.

Considering the current demographic development, also the basic and human rights of the elderly have recently become a focus of attention.


In 2016, the Swiss Centre of Expertise in Human Rights (SCHR) evaluated the basic and human rights situation of elderly people in Switzerland.

On the basis of numerous expert interviews, the SCHR identified six areas that need special attention when it comes to protecting the basic rights of elderly people:

  • work,
  • dwelling,
  • health,
  • participation,
  • instances of violence and
  • discrimination.

Raising Awareness for
the Basic Rights of the Elderly

The difficulties that elderly people may encounter in these areas are generally known.

However, there is a lack of awareness about their basic rights being frequently violated.

This is especially true when it comes to interferences into the daily lives of elderly and seriously weakened people by third parties, private, or public bodies.

Therefore, the current project aims at raising awareness for the basic rights of the elderly.

Based on the evaluation results, the SCHR worked out practical guidelines about how to protect the basic and human rights of the elderly.

The guidelines address people who are regularly in contact with the elderly, such as relatives, nursing home and hospital staff or members of communal, cantonal or federal authorities.

They present concrete examples and suggest courses of action in comprehensible language.

The guidelines will be published for a broad public.


Swiss Centre of Expertise in Human Rights (SCHR), Bern.

The Hirschmann Foundation is funding the project from 2017 to 2019 with an amount of CHF 78,000.