Friday, February 18, 2011

Putting Older Persons’ Poverty on the Human Rights Agenda

Dr. Alexandre Kalache calling NGOs to speak with a strong voice
Global Action on Aging, along with eight other NGOs working on aging, organized a side event during the 49th Session of the Commission for Social Development. Related to the 49th session's priority theme of "poverty eradication", the side event focused on older person's poverty and putting it on the human rights agenda.

The February 11, 2011, side event took place in New York and attracted nearly 50 participants from across the globe. Panelists with different backgrounds described various problems that old people face. Dr. Laura Machado, International Coordinator for UN Activities from IAGG, urged NGOs to increase the influence of older persons in citizen organizations. Kenneth Henley, President of the Rivoli Senior Citizens Club in Jamaica, talked briefly about his experiences in old age and urged grater cooperation with young people. Mr. Zahid Rastam, Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Malaysia to the UN, emphasized ways that NGOs interact with UN delegations, encouraging NGOs to lobby at national level. Last, Dr. Alexandre Kalache, Senior Advisor of the International Coalition on Rights of Older Persons, echoed others that NGOs should speak with a strong voice to governments.
During Q & A session, more NGOs from around the world - India, Nigeria and Jamaica just to name few - asked how to lobby at the national level. In conclusion, the audience agreed that older people need local and national support to achieve a human rights convention/treaty for older persons. More, older people need their governments to assure older persons' rights by providing better pension systems, health care and housing for older people.

By Duygu Başaran, GAA Program Coordinator

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