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Age Demands Action on Rights in Ethiopia: Progress and plans to fight elder abuse!

17 Jun 2015

ADA delegates (left to right: Yeshiemebet, Yizeshewal and Tilahun) with the Commissioner for Vulnerable Groups of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, Mrs Asmaru Berihun (second from right), and her staff following a meeting planning the upcoming event. (c) HelpAge InternationalI'm Tilahun Abebe from Ethiopia. I'm 79; going on 80 and have been the Age Demands Action coordinator in Ethiopia since it began in 2007. Since then, we have come a very long way. 

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is on 15 June and is one of the most important events in the Age Demands Action campaign calendar.

In Ethiopia, we're commemorating the day for the third time this year by acknowledging that the abuse of and discrimination against older people is an issue that deserves attention.

Age Demands Action on Rights achievements

In the past two years, we as the Age Demands Action delegation have built strategic relationships with relevant government stakeholders.

These include the Ethiopian Institute of the Ombudsman, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, the Ministry of Justice and the Federal Police Commission, as well as the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

We have also carried out two workshops for older people to let them know about the existing action plans and systems already in place to protect them from abuse.

Sharing experiences of discrimination

During these workshops, leaders and members of various older people's associations brought forward their experiences and knowledge of abuse. Through previous discussions, we have built up the trust and commitment necessary for people to share these stories.

This year, we are working with our government stakeholders to consolidate and sustain their efforts. We have also strengthened our existing relationships with them and older people's associations to address the issue of elder abuse in a more impactful way.

Next steps to fight elder abuse

In July, the Age Demands Action delegation will meet again with government officials. We are currently working with them to organise a fruitful workshop to once again commemorate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

In this workshop, we will see presentations of the policies and action plans in place, the cases of elder abuse and various interventions by the government.

In the course of the one day event, we will discuss what must be done to strengthen our network and effectively speed up the implementation of the inclusive national plans of action already in place.

Need for data on elder abuse

In addition, we will address the need for conclusive data on elder abuse in our country. Many of my peers have faced abuse or discrimination, but never have been heard. I am sure if we carried out a survey, many older people would have a story to share.

We are also gathering thousands of signatures to the petition supporting a UN convention on older people's rights. So far, we have gathered 15,000 signatures from members of older people's associations.

I feel very positively that this will be a highly successful event as all government offices are very cooperative and committed to improving older people's wellbeing.

Find out more about Age Demands Action on Rights.

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Author profile

Tilahun Abebe
Country: Ethiopia

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