Older people in more than 50 countries will come together today (1 October) on the International Day of Older Persons to celebrate ageing and draw attention to the issues they face. Among the actions planned, campaigners will be sheltering under umbrellas to symbolise the protection of their rights.
The actions are part of HelpAge International's Age Demands Action campaign calling for the UN and its member states to work towards adopting a convention on the rights of older people. According to HelpAge International, older people suffer widespread discrimination and are frequently let down by governments failing to safeguard their rights.
The campaign will see a range of events focusing on raising awareness of older people’s issues. In Sri Lanka, older people will meet health and social services ministers and lobby for separate hospital wards for older people. In the Philippines, activists will organise a "walk for life" and an exhibition on the importance of social pensions. In Argentina, older people will call for cities to become more age friendly.
"The Age Demands Action campaign highlights the energy and dedication of older activists," said Toby Porter, Chief Executive Officer at 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,” he added.
The Open-ended Working Group on Ageing, a UN committee, met in July for the sixth time. At this meeting, there was consensus among member states to change the format of the working group. This would enable the group to change the format of the meeting so it can fulfil its mandate to discuss the main elements of a convention.
"The time has come to change the format of the Working Group," said Kate Wedgwood, Director of Policy, Advocacy and Campaigns at HelpAge International.
"We call on all Member States to be open to and support this change in format so that the Working Group can fulfil its mandate in its entirety."
The actions today (1 October) follow the successes of older activists in the action/2015 campaign, who called for people of all ages to be included in the Sustainable Development Goals. The goals, adopted last week (25th – 27th September) at the UN, commit 193 world leaders to ending extreme poverty, combatting inequality and injustice and fighting climate change over the next 15 years.
Not only does the Sustainable Development agenda pledge to leave no one behind, but older age or older people are referenced in 15 of the 17 global goals and their targets, with key phrases including "all ages", "older persons" and "lifelong".
HelpAge International will be working with governments to ensure that they are included and consulted throughout the implementation of the goals.
Notes to editors:
International Media Contacts:
Sarah Gillam, Media Relations Manager, HelpAge International: tel: +44 (0) 20 7148 7623; mobile: + 44 (0) 7713 567 624; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
; Skype: sarah.gillam.hai
Ed Knight, Media Intern, HelpAge International: tel: + 44 (0) 20 7148 7606; email: email@example.com
; Skype: edward.knight.hai
Actions are currently confirmed for:
Albania, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cambodia, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, Grenada, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Malawi, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
For more information on the actions or the Age Demands Action campaign, contact: