Despite the lack of a single international treaty presently which specifically addresses the rights of older persons, they are embedded, albeit not specific, in other significant conventions on economic, social, civil, cultural and political rights.  The universal and inalienable rights undeniably apply to ageing and older persons, nonetheless, becoming ‘old’ can mean being more prone to violence and abuse, neglect or violations of their rights at different societal levels; older persons face specific threats in terms of direct and indirect discrimination, isolation, poverty, access to health care, etc. due to the cumulative barriers to their social and political participation, and diminishing personal autonomy.


The international debate on ageing traces back to 1982 when the Report of the World Assembly on Ageing was published.  Following that was the adoption of the UN Principles for Older Persons in 1992.  The Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing and the Political Declaration was then espoused at the Second World Assembly on Ageing in April 2002, and the "Open‐Ended Working group on Ageing for the purpose of strengthening the Human Rights of Older Persons" was established as a follow-up to the Madrid Plan in October 2010.  There have also been growing global advocacy efforts in recent years calling for a Convention on the Rights of Older Persons.


Like many countries of today, Hong Kong is experiencing a rapidly ageing population.  The city is, however, lagging behind in terms of law and policy of elderly rights protection.  In the light of the scandals of elderly abuses in residential care homes, heated debates on the elderly Comprehensive Social Security Allowance and post-retirement security policies in recent years, coupled with the issue of chronic poverty which is very common among Hong Kong’s ageing population, it is pressing to safeguard and raise local awareness of the human rights and dignity of older persons.



Journal Articles

All for Some’ or ‘Some for All’? Assessing the Realisation of the Right to Social Welfare in the Retirement Protection Reform in Hong Kong - By Karen Kong

(2016) 46 Hong Kong Law Journal 779-791

Submissions to Government

Written Submission to the Elderly Services Programme Plan Consultation Team on the Elderly Services Programme Plan Consultation (Consensus Building Stage), February 2017 - By Karen Kong

Written submission to the Poverty Commission of the Hong Kong SAR Government on the Future of Retirement Protection Consultation in Hong Kong, June 2016 - By Karen Kong



Conferences and Seminars

A United Nations Convention on the Rights of Older Persons: Do We Really Need One and What Could it Achieve? (18 November)
| Handout |     | Video |





Rights Talk Series



Lectures & Trainings





Coming soon...




This project is supported by the HKU Knowledge Exchange Fund granted by the University Grants Committee.