How Ageing Nepal campaigned on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
Since 2012, we at Ageing Nepal have been continuously involved in HelpAge International's Age Demands Action (ADA) campaigns.
For this year's ADA on Rights campaign on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (15 June), we aimed to:
- build awareness on older people's right to equality and non-discrimination, and to freedom from violence, abuse and neglect
- put pressure on the Nepal Government to effectively implement policies and programs on the rights of older persons
- encourage the Government to attend the eighth session of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG)
- promote the Entitled to the same rights report on older women's rights.
Reaching out to the Nepal's wider population
A meeting was held between Government ministries, the National Human Rights Commission, and representatives of organisations working on ageing issues. This was aired live on the radio, with around two million people tuning in - significantly increasing the audience. We hope this adds pressure to the Government and National Human Rights Commission to deliver policy change that benefits older people.
Alongside the radio show, we reached out to the Nepalese people in a variety of ways:
- We held four awareness-building workshops in which we educated 230 people of all ages in population change, the Sustainable Development Goals and elder abuse.
- We organised a rally in Nepal's capital Kathmandu in which 70 older demonstrators held placards and raised their voices against elder abuse. Around 1,000 people were there to hear what we had to say.
- Pabitra Adhikari, a clinical psychologist at Ageing Nepal, discussed the different kinds of elder abuse, how it can be prevented and gave statistics on its prevalence in Nepal in the Himalaya Times, which has a readership of at least 50,000.
- We held a cultural event in which 60 older people recited poems and danced to music that calls for an end to elder abuse in Nepal.
Our involvement in developing the Entitled to the same rights report
Ageing Nepal had the wonderful opportunity contribute to HelpAge's Entitled to the same rights report. We were one of the 19 countries in which older women were asked to give their views about their human rights.
We gathered a group of 16 older women (aged 50-80) for a discussion, as well as holding individual consultations with a further 14 older women. We spoke to women of diverse social and economic circumstances to provide a broad understanding of older women's rights in Nepal. Many talked about vulnerability after their husbands had died, others talked about the need for a pension in older age or the opportunity to earn an income, while the importance of the right to own property was also flagged.
On World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, we shared the report with four ministries and the National Human Rights Commission. We hope they will read it and use the experiences of older women in Nepal and around the world to develop policies and programmes that protect and promote older people's, and especially older women's, rights.
Encouraging the Nepal Government to attend the OEWG
When we met with each of the constitutional bodies, we handed over a petition demanding the Nepalese Government to participate in the upcoming OEWG on 5-7 July.
The event in New York can provide a guidance for Nepal's Government to support older people's rights. At previous sessions, Nepal has offered its support for a UN convention on the rights of older people, and to be there again would continue to offer weight to this call.
Despite our work, it is unlikely the Nepalese Government will participate in this year's OEWG because of the country's ongoing elections.
Why a convention is vital for Nepal
The call for a convention is extremely important for Nepal. It will put pressure on the policymakers to take concrete action to protect and promote older people's rights.
We strongly believe the convention can work towards ensuring:
- the right to freedom from violence and discrimination
- the right to social security
- the right to health
- the right to work
- the right to property and inheritance.
We at Ageing Nepal have been adding our voice to the global call for a convention since the establishment of the OEWGA in 2010. The convention must not only ensure the rights of older people today, but it should also ensure the rights of future generations to come.
You can find out more about our activities for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in our full report.