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Security in the Americas for the elderly Fiona Clark, Regional Program Director, Latin America, HelpAge International.

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Presentation on theme: "Security in the Americas for the elderly Fiona Clark, Regional Program Director, Latin America, HelpAge International."— Presentation transcript:

1 Security in the Americas for the elderly Fiona Clark, Regional Program Director, Latin America, HelpAge International

2 A secure old age Security Certainty Guarantees Confidence … … … Physical - health, housing, services, environment, city Economic – income, decent work, pensions Social – a place in society, participation, family, community support network Cultural – self-determination, respect, freedom … Guarantees for the future

3 What security? Older woman, forced to move, principal caretaker of her grandson, precarious housing, no clean drinking water, electricity, or basic services. Cartagena, Colombia

4 Older women, rural, poor, illiterate, Quechua- speaking, no ID card, no pension, little access to health services. Never received restitution for the injustices they endured during the civil war of the 1980s. Ayacucho, Peru What security?

5 Older man, urban, poor, no pension, no decent job, discriminated against. His daughter has emigrated to Spain, leaving her children with him, and the remittances are not enough. Lima, Peru What security?

6 A convention for the rights of older persons would ensure their future … A convention would guarantee … That the gains achieved in protecting the people, their rights, and their development earlier in life are not lost in their old age; A society for all ages, fighting age discrimination; A legal obligation and a mechanism for government and civil society accountability (economic, social, and moral); Increased investment for the elderly and the rights and dignity of elder adults.

7 A convention is necessary because the rights of older adults are still being ignored. In practice, the existing instruments of the inter-American human rights system neither address nor protect adequately the rights of older men and women (e.g., CEDAW, UPR reports). Commissions that monitor human rights treaties and agreements rarely ask about the rights of older persons. In their reports to the commissions, UN member states rarely speak of advances in protecting elder rights. The implementation of the International Plan of Action on Ageing (1982 Vienna Plan and 2002 Madrid Plan) is too slow and inconsistent.

8 A convention is necessary because the rights of older adults are still being violated. Right to nondiscrimination Older persons face discrimination in access to services, education, training, and employment because of their age, gender, ethnicity, or disability, among other factors. Right to identity Many older persons are uninformed about laws designed to protect them and have no identification documents for access to the benefits provided under law. Right to freedom from violence Older women and men are subjected to verbal, physical, economic, psychological, and sexual abuse by their families, communities, and public and private institutions, and are hidden victims of social and political conflicts.

9 Right to decent work with social security Over 60% of the labor force in Latin America works in the informal sector and over 60% have no old-age pension. Right to health The regions health systems are poorly equipped for their aging population. Older persons face significant barriers to their access to appropriate services. Right to inheritance The significant gender bias in estate laws and practices is detrimental to older women. The world is aging. Age discrimination is not acceptable.

10 What are the advantages ? Reduce age discrimination and shed light on the many forms of discrimination older persons face; Strengthen societys response to the challenge of an aging population and provide a framework for investment; Improve intergenerational solidarity and foster social cohesion; Complement and raise the profile of the Madrid Plan; bring all human rights standards into a single document; Guide the development of policies from a rights perspective and the allocation of resources for their implementation.

11 The role of civil society? Work with associations of older persons, unions, womens groups, youth movements, etc., to raise public awareness of the role of a convention on the rights of older persons; Gather and organize evidence, directly with and from older persons, on violations of their rights and the means of access to existing benefits; Foster greater awareness of, and sensitivity to, aging from a rights perspective; Promote and participate in qualitative and quantitative studies on the observance of elder rights; Ensure effective participation by older women and men in the process of developing a convention, ensuring that their needs, demands, and perspectives are taken into account.

12 From protest to proposals … Collaborate with governments to identify discriminatory practices and laws and to design policies and programs for active, healthful, dignified aging. Work with older persons to draft technical proposals with solutions to the problems they face. Work with younger generations to fight discriminatory attitudes and encourage shared responsibility for a more secure future for everyone. Work within the inter-American human rights system to promote the effective application of existing instruments for the protection of the human rights of older persons.

13 The HelpAge Network … Is committed to working with older persons, other civil society groups, and networks in South, Central, and North America and the Caribbean to contribute to an effective process toward a convention on the rights of older persons and to promote the rights of all persons throughout their lives.

14 Global Aging watch/convention/humanrights/ strengtheningrights.pdf

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