INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR OLDER PERSONS (2021)
The first of October marks International Day for Older Persons, established by the United Nations General Assembly on December 14, 1990, in accordance with Resolution 45/106.
The significance of the commemoration is to raise awareness of the challenges facing the elderly, such as discrimination on the basis of age, poverty, violence, as well as a lack of essential services and resources.
Although the elderly constitute a significant percentage of the world’s population, social exclusion is a saddening reality for most. According to the United Nations, by 2050, the world’s population aged 60 years and older will reach 2 billion, up from 900 million in 2015.
Nevertheless, due to the absence or denial of rights, services or resources, older persons have become unable to participate in habitual activities and relationships, common across the different domains of society. This highlights the necessity in raising awareness and mobilizing efforts to ensure the provision of health and social care services for the elderly.
Therefore, an intersectional human rights approach, taking into account sociocultural norms and the right to autonomy, is necessary. Within that context, the theme of this year is : “Digital Equity for All Ages,” emphasizing the crucial importance of enabling the access and meaningful participation of older persons in the digital world, while simultaneously tackling prejudice and discriminations associated with digitalization.
The Geneva Institute for Human Rights, in alignment with its mission to ensure a thriving culture of human rights and the fostering of more inclusive and democratic societies, affirms its commitment to enabling each individual's equal and meaningful participation in social, economic, cultural and political life on the basis of equality of rights, equity and dignity.
Hence, the Institute praises the theme of this year, as well as the message of the Secretary-General of the United Nations in addressing the challenges and risks of digital technology and the recommended concrete measures to harness the best technologies and mitigate their risks.
Moreover, the Institute adds on to the voice of the United Nations, and stresses on the importance of leveraging digital technologies for social inclusion and enabling the achievement of more sustainable and resilient societies.
Finally, the Geneva Institute for Human Rights calls on governments to :
Encourage the active involvement of older persons in the process of developing policies and legislation related to their rights;
Develop awareness-raising programs combating ageism, highlighting the complex nature and intersectionality of the phenomenon, as well as the deep rooted stereotypes, prejudices & discriminatory practices;
Identify the unique needs and contributions of older persons when preparing and planning emergency response and recovery measures, particularly measures related to the covid-19 pandemic and disaster risk-reduction.
The Institute also calls on governments, national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations to include the situation of older persons in progress reports to international human rights enforcement and monitoring mechanisms, particularly the Universal Periodic Review mechanism.