Raise your umbrella to a world without ageism

01/10/2015

By Ben Small

Older campaigners in more than 50 countries across the world are coming together today (1 October) on the International Day of Older Persons to both celebrate ageing and draw attention to the issues people face as they age.

As part of the Age Demands Action Global day of mobilisation, campaigners are being photographed beneath umbrellas, symbolising the protection of older people’s rights.

Raise your umbrella to a world without ageism (c) Jonas Wresch/HelpAge International

Raise your umbrella to a world without ageism (c) Jonas Wresch/HelpAge International

Older people across the world endure widespread discrimination in terms of abuse, access to services such as healthcare, and in securing work. They frequently feel let down by their governments, which fail to safeguard their basic human rights.

With the Age Demands Action Global campaign, we hope to push the UN and its member states to adopt a convention that would help to preserve these rights.

Activists are coming together in different countries around the globe to lobby on ageing issues too.

In Sri Lanka, for example, old people are meeting health and social service ministers to ask they provide separate hospital wards for older people, while in the Phillippines there will be a "walk for life" and an exhibition proclaiming the importance of social pensions.

Older people in Vietnam and Bangladesh stand beneath their Age Demands Action umbrellas

Older people in Vietnam and Bangladesh stand beneath their Age Demands Action umbrellas

 

"The Age Demands Action Global campaign highlights the energy and dedication of older activists," said Toby Porter, Chief Executive Officer, HelpAge International.

"It enables them to stand up and be counted and let the world know that they won’t be silenced.

"For too long, older people have been left out of the development agenda. They are subjected to ageism, discrimination and denial of their rights. Existing human rights frameworks simply aren’t addressing the challenges that they face. We cannot shirk from our responsibilities to older generations."

Older activists have succeeded in the past in pushing their agenda. The action/2015 campaign mobilised them to push for people of all ages to be included in the Sustainable Development Goals adopted last month. Now they can build on that success and secure the long-needed UN convention on their rights.

You can get involved in the Age Demands Action Global campaign by standing beneath an umbrella, getting your photograph taken and sharing it with us and on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t let it rain on older people’s rights.

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