Ethiopia ratifies the AU Protocol on the rights of older people despite Covid-19

Older Persons under HelpAge Ethiopia attending past meeting. Courtesy photo.

Addis Ababa, 10 July 2020: The Federal Government of Ethiopia has on Thursday ratified the African Union Protocol (AUP) on the rights of older people and thus becomes the third country after Lesotho and Benin.

The decision is commendable by Ethiopia, whose capital city, Addis Ababa, hosts the African Union Commission headquarters and is the country with the second highest population of older people in the continent.

The ratification comes in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has exposed and deepened the violation of older people’s rights. The decision will help the country make deliberate and systematic efforts towards protecting the dignity and rights of older people as well as contributing to collective actions needed by the AU Member States.

HelpAge International Ethiopia Country director, Sisay Seyoum, congratulated the government and said the move demonstrates a sustained positive political will towards the wellbeing and dignity of its older women and men.

“We have had fruitful engagements with the government who has an open-door policy to listen to the needs of older people. On behalf of the older people and the HelpAge network in Ethiopia, I wish to thank the government and look forward to a continued collaboration during the implementation of the provisions of the Protocol,” said Sisay Seyoum.

According to Carole Agengo, Africa Regional Director at HelpAge International, the signing of the African Union Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa signals called on other African government to follow the example set by Ethiopia and show the same commitment to the rights and welfare of their ageing women and men.

Although Ethiopia is a young country with 46 percent of the population under the age of 14, over five percent of the 100 million Ethiopians are aged 60 years or more. This proportion of older people is expected to nearly double to nine percent by 2050.

Adopted in January 2016, the Protocol on the Rights of Older Persons is the product of many years of consultation and brought to the fore commitments made by African States in the 2002 African Union Policy Framework and Plan of Action on Ageing and the African Charter for Human Rights.

The ratification by Ethiopia means that 12 more countries need to ratify the Protocol for it to come into force and be binding for all Member States of the African Union.


HelpAge International and its networks and partners around the world support millions of older people to live safe, dignified and healthy lives.

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