International Day of Older Persons Children
October 1st 2020
On December 14th 1990, the UN General Assembly designated
the 1st of October as International Day of Older Persons,
Resolution 45/106, an annual observance focused on raising
awareness on the well-being and needs of the elderly.
Guided by the principles of equality and human dignity,
the aim is to ensure that no one is left behind.
The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected the livelihood
of vulnerable communities, particularly senior citizens globally.
According to the United Nations, there are 703 million people
aged 65 or over (2019), accounting to approximately 12% of the
The ageing population is a disadvantaged group, with millions
of older individuals being subjected to social and political
exclusion and neglect in emergency settings. Moreover, beyond the terrifying health impact, the pandemic has had devastatingly negative and disproportionate effects on older citizens, including falling into poverty or facing discrimination and/or denial of healthcare.
Acknowledging the necessity in ensuring that people can grow old with dignity and the importance of awareness raising in the specific needs and issues affecting the aged, the 2020 theme is “Pandemic: Do They Change How We Address Age and Ageing?”
International Day of Older Persons presents an opportunity to highlight the significant contribution of older individuals to society as leaders and caretakers, the vital role they play in the preparedness and response against the current and future epidemics and ensure that policy and program interventions are targeted at raising awareness of their special needs.
Therefore, the Geneva Institute for Human Rights would like to use this opportunity to remind the global community of their obligation to respect and ensure respect of international human rights and urges states to pay attention to the implementation of all core international human rights instruments, particularly related to the rights of old age.
Furthermore, the Institute calls on member states and international stakeholders to integrate the special needs of older citizens in policy and programmatic interventions and work towards establishing cooperative societies for the elderly, challenging discriminatory notions of ageing and offering a sense of autonomy.
Finally, the Geneva Institute for Human Rights stresses on the importance of the Mandate of the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons in raising awareness of the rights of older persons and working on the contents of her reports and recommendations, as well as the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing which focuses on strengthening the protection of the human rights of older persons, including developing a multilateral legal instrument on the rights of older persons.
As the ageing population rapidly increases, so will the number of rights violations against older people unless there is an effective and united effort by States to acknowledge the rights, responsibilities and contributions of older people and redress the pressing issues and special needs of this vulnerable community.