By Navdha Malhotra
This week, older activists involved in HelpAge's Age Demands Action campaign are standing up for older people's rights at the United Nations.
They will be speaking out at the Open Ended Working Group on Ageing session (OEWG) at the UN headquarters in New York. (c) Ina Voelcker/HelpAge International
Three older activists from the Philippines, Tanzania and the Czech Republic will speak on older people's rights.
Their trip is supported by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affiars (UNDESA), HelpAge International, our sister organisation Age UK and Alzheimer's Disease International.
Protecting older people's human rights
The Open Ended Working Group on Ageing was established in 2010 to try and better protect older people's human rights. It meets for the second time this week.
The meeting's agenda is to identify the gaps in protecting older people's rights in five core areas:
- Discrimination in old age
- Right to health
- Right to social security
- Violence against older people
- Social exclusion
Older people will be a part of the debate
Representing older people from their respective countries, our three activists will share their personal experiences and speak on various panels.
Teresa Minja from Tanzania will speak on a panel on violence, Salve Basiano from the Philippines will discuss social protection and Oldrich Staneck from Czech Republic is speaking on a panel on social exclusion.
"That this discussion on older people's rights is happening at the UN is a major step forward in recognising older people as rights holders and not just recipients of welfare or charity.
"And as rights holders, it is absolutely critical that older people themselves are able to participate in these discussions, are listened to and that their lived experiences inform any decisions or recommendations that are made," says Bridget Sleap, Rights Policy Adviser for HelpAge.
Right to accessible and appropriate healthcare
As well as being part of the panel discussions, we are organising a side event which focuses on "older people's right to health".
Major advances in health have led to greater longevity but older people are still denied their basic right to accessible and appropriate healthcare.
The event brings together older people from around the world to talk about their experiences. Our Age Demands Action leaders Teresa, Salve and Oldrich will interact with Dr John Beard, director of the Department of Ageing and the Life Course from the World Health Organization about the challenges and solutions to accessing healthcare.
Encouraging governments to participate
As founding members of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People, we are working with other NGOs to ensure that global civil society groups have a greater presence at the Open Ended Working Group.
Affiliates from our global network, for example, are encouraging their governments to participate in the OEWG. We are also supporting our affiliates to become part of the group so that they can input into its discussions and agenda.
What can I do to help?
You can show your support for older people's rights by joining the movement and signing the Age Demands Action petition.