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Age Demands Action 2011: 62,000 campaigners fight for older people's rights

06 Feb 2012

2011 has been an incredible year for the Age Demands Action campaign especially for the faces behind the campaign- older people. From the home based care programme being expanded to 100,000Older activists march for their rights in Costa Rica older people in Indonesia, to a legislation for a non-contributory pension passed by the national Congress in Peru, 2011 has been a year of change for many older people across the world. On 1 October 2011, 62,000 campaigners in 59 countries and 171 organisations came together to mobilise for older people's rights.

Securing their future

Many older people are securing their own future and that of future generations. In 2011 alone, older people met 140 politicians; including 89 senior government ministers asking for improved health care, social protection, policies and strategies addressing the needs of older people. At the international level, older people have been asking for a UN convention of older people's rights which would provide a clear conceptual and legal framework that governments will use to eliminate age discrimination and protect older women and men's rights. 

In support of the convention, we received over 28,000 signatures for the ADA petition, which is nine times higher than the 2010 figure.

Proud to be called an older person

It is through older campaigners like Mr Paul Muthee and Mrs Gunathilake that changes are taking place. Paul, 74 from Kenya, was a part of a ADA activists, Paul, meets with Mutula Kilonzo, Kenyan Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairsgroup of older people who met with Mutula Kilonzo, Minister for Justice & Constitutional Affairs in Nairobi. At the meeting, Paul and his fellow campaigners discussed Article 57 of the Constitution, which highlights respect for the rights of older people and presented a special ADA petition to the Minister. Overwhelmed after the meeting, he said: "This campaign gives me some hope because it makes the whole world pay attention to the older persons, which is very rare! I am proud to be called an older person."

On the other side of the world, Mrs Gunathilake, 67, marched with hundreds of older people in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo to deliver a speech to the Minister of Social Services, Felix Perera. The group asked the minister to allocate funds from the Treasury's 2012 budget and expand old age allowance to everyone above the age of 80 years.

Plans for 2012

This year promises to be an exciting year with many campaign actions taking place all year round.  For example, older people are already making plans to put political pressure on their governments around key international days such as World Health Day and World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. On 8 May, ADA leaders will be taking part in the Third Regional Intergovernmental Conference on Ageing in Latin America and the Caribbean asking governments to support a regional convention on older people's rights. 

The time has come that older people are included in decision-making and we are working hard to ensure that they do not remain unheard!

What you can do

Make your voice heard by signing the Age Demands Action petition

See other highlights of ADA 2011

Meet other activists campaigning for older people`s rights

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Author profile

Barbara Dockalova
Country: Czech Republic
Job title: Campaigns Coordinator

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.