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Stop elder abuse, protect older people's rights

12 Jun 2012

Deyu is one of the many women in Tanzania who have been accused of witchcraft and attacked.To mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on 15 June, older people in 18 countries will campaign against elder abuse and demand protection of their rights. This campaign, Age Demands Action for Rights, has gained support very quickly, with some of the participating countries being involved in ADA for the very first time. 

It is no surprise that an issue as serious as elder abuse has moved older campaigners to get involved. Studies show that between 4% and 6% of older people have experienced some form of abuse in their homes.

Many older people are accused of witchcraft and attacked as a result. In Tanzania, for example a shocking 1,000 women a year are killed due to witchcraft allegations

Open Ended Working Group on Ageing

Elder abuse whether physical, psychological, financial or sexual is a violation of older people's human rights. Until recently, elder abuse remained well hidden from public view, but now Age Demands Action is giving a voice to older people who want to stop elder abuse and are demanding for their rights to be respected.

The next two months is a critical time, as we have a unique opportunity to call on governments to commit to protecting older people's rights. This August, the UN Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) on Ageing, which was established in 2010, will meet.

They will discuss new international mechanisms to protect older people; one of which is a UN convention on older people's rights. Older people across the world are calling for their governments to show their support and take part in this crucial meeting.

Petition for UN convention on older people's rights

Over the past five years, campaigners around the world have been collecting signatures for the Age Demands Action petition which calls on governments to support a UN convention on older people's rights.

A convention would provide protection of older people's rights under international law. It would provide a definitive and universal position that age discrimination is morally and legally unacceptable.

Over 32,000 people from more than 130 countries have pledged their support for a convention. This year, we are working to collect as many petition signatures as possible and will present them at a UN high level meeting on 1 October, International Day of Older People. 

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Purna chandra upadhaya

This is a good for our contry Nepal . we should protect elder rights because we will be elder in future.

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Barbara Dockalova
Country: London
Job title: Campaigns Co-ordinator

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