Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The UN Commission for Social Development 49th Session: Older Persons’ Poverty and Human Rights by Nuri Han

The UN Commission for Social Development 49th session explored the current needs to protect older persons from poverty. On February 10, a Chinese research expert spoke on poverty eradication in rural areas. According to the expert, the Chinese government pays a monthly minimum living allowance, 80% of medical payments and retirement insurance to poor people in rural areas. Almost half of rural seniors over 65 years were in poverty in the 1990s but the rate recently decreased by 35% thanks to helpful programs. At a NGO Side Event on February 12, several international NGO leaders addressed a Convention for Older Persons at the UN. Also, the Counsellor, for the Permanent Mission of Malaysia to the UN, shared important advice on how to attract support for the convention from Member States.

Still, it seems there is more work to do for older persons’ human rights at the UN. In other committee meetings, issues of older persons are barely addressed. To successfully initiate a Convention for Older Persons and address older persons’ rights at the UN, more international civic leaders must work cooperatively to win many Member States’ support.

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