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International Day of Older Persons

This topic provides information about International Day of Older Persons - 1 October.

Between 2015 and 2030, the target date for the Sustainable Development Goals, the number of older persons worldwide is set to increase by 56 per cent — from 901 million to more than 1.4 billion. By 2030, the number of people aged 60 and above will exceed that of young people aged 15 to 24.

Ageism is a widely prevalent and prejudicial attitude that stems from the assumption that age discrimination, and sometimes neglect and abuse of older persons is a social norm and therefore, acceptable. It is a reality in some form in all societies, and finds expression in individuals’ attitudes, institutional and policy practices, as well as media representation that devalue and exclude older persons. In 2014, Governments around the world adopted a resolution at the Economic and Social Council that recognized ageism as “the common source of, the justification for and the driving force behind age discrimination.”

On 14 December 1990, the United Nations General Assembly (by resolution 45/106) designated 1 October the International Day of Older Persons (UNIDOP), which seeks to promote an age inclusive agenda.

Theme for 2018

The theme of the 2018 commemoration is Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions“.

On this 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the United Nations International Day for Older Persons (UNIDOP) celebrates the importance of this Declaration, and reaffirms the commitment to promoting the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by older persons.

Growing older does not diminish a person’s inherent dignity and fundamental rights.

Almost 40 years following the adoption of UDHR, issues of human rights for older persons were taken up in 1991 in the formulation of the United Nations Principles for Older Persons, which provided guidance in the areas of independence, participation, care, self-fulfillment and dignity.

A decade later, the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA), adopted in 2002, represented the first time Governments agreed to link questions of ageing to other frameworks for social and economic development and human rights. The interdependence between older persons’ social integration and the full enjoyment of their human rights cannot be ignored, as the degree to which older persons are socially integrated will directly affect their dignity and quality of life.

Older human rights champions today were born around the time of the adoption of the UDHR in 1948. They are as diverse as the society in which they live: from older people advocating for human rights at the grass root and community level to high profile figures on the international stage. Each and every one demands equal respect and acknowledgement for their dedication and commitment to contributing to a world free from fear and free from want.

The 2018 theme aims to:

  • Promote the rights enshrined in the Declaration and what it means in the daily lives of older persons;
  • Raise the visibility of older people as participating members of society committed to improving the enjoyment of human rights in many areas of life and not just those that affect them immediately;
  • Reflect on progress and challenges in ensuring full and equal enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by older persons; and
  • Engage broad audiences across the world and mobilize people for human rights at all stages of life.

The Madrid International Plan of Action

In the Political Declaration adopted in Madrid, Member States reaffirmed their commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, and called for the elimination of age discrimination, neglect, abuse and violence. More specifically, the Madrid International Plan contained guidance on the right to work, the right to health, participation and equality of opportunity throughout life, stressing the importance of the participation of older persons in decision-making processes at all levels.

The priorities set out in the Madrid International Plan of Action include a wide range of issues: equal employment opportunities for all older persons; programmes that enable all workers to acquire social protection and social security, including, where applicable, pensions, disability insurance and health benefits; and sufficient minimum income for all older persons, with particular attention to socially and economically disadvantaged groups. The importance of continuous education, vocational guidance and placement services are also stressed, including for the purpose of maintaining a maximum functional capacity and enhancing public recognition of the productivity and the contributions of older persons. Health is also a key feature of the Madrid Plan of Action. The provisions encompass notions of prevention, equal access to health care, active participation, the impact of HIV/AIDS in respect to older persons and the full functionality of supportive and care-giving environments.

Source : United Nations

Related resources

  1. Political Declaration and Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (2002)
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