UN expert says “social pensions are critical to human rights”

04/06/2010

Ms Sepulveda said social pensions were critical to human rights. Ms Sepulveda said social pensions were critical to human rights. Photo: www.2ohchr.org The UN's independent expert on extreme poverty and human rights has launched her second report; this time focusing on older people, human rights and social protection. 

UN Independent Expert Magdalena Sepulveda, makes clear in her report that existing policies to protect older people in developing countries need to be urgently addressed in light of global ageing.

She states that social pensions are critical to reducing extreme poverty for older people.

Older people left unprotected from poverty

"Informal family support for older people is declining under the pressure of increased longevity, widespread poverty, the impact of HIV and AIDS and migration," says Ms Sepulveda.

"Traditionally, states have focused on establishing contributory pensions systems to protect people in old age. But this approach has left up to 80% of working age and older people around the world unprotected by any form of pension.

Pension schemes in line with human rights

"Universal pension schemes are more in line with human rights obligations as they comply with principles of universality and non-discrimination. They also reduce opportunities for corruption and manipulation in the selection of beneficiaries, which typically exclude the poorest."

As part of the launch, the Permanent Missions of Brazil and Finland are hosting a panel discussion with HelpAge International to raise awareness of the report and the broader issue of older people and human rights. 

Watch the interview that HelpAge conducted with Ms Sepulveda

Download "Older people, human rights and protection"

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