MATTER OF CONCERN
The plight of the aged reminds the society of the tremendously long path that it has to cover for ensuring that the aged live a life of dignity and respect. On the International Day for Older Persons, let us strive to create a society that is conducive to their demands.
Priyanka Yadav / The New Leam
Let’s talk about the elderly or the old age persons on the International Day for Older Persons. This year the commemoration of the day is under the theme “Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions”. The United Nations on 14 December 1990, designated October 1 to the elder persons of society with a mind set to pay attention to the particular needs and challenges faced by many older persons. The UN observed that elder persons can contribute essentially towards the functioning of the society and thus efforts should be made to provide adequate guarantees to them primarily Human rights guarantees.
They further believe that “growing old does not diminish a person’s inherent dignity and fundamental rights. The major points of the theme “Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions’ are –
- Promotion of the rights enshrined in the declaration and what it means in the daily lives of the 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 affect them immediately.
- Reflect on progress and challenges in ensuring full and equal enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by older person.
- Engage broad audiences across the world and mobilise people for human rights at all stages.
As reported by the United Nations – Department of Economic and Social Affair, almost 700 million people are now over the age of 60. By 2050, 2 billion people, over 20 per cent of the world’s population will be 60 or older. And the increase in number of older persons will be greatest and rapid in the developing world, with Asia as the region with the largest number of older persons, and Africa facing the largest number of proportionate growth.
In lieu of realising their rights as citizen and old age citizen nearly thousands gathered around Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Sunday to demand universal pension for the elderly, single women, and people with disabilities, the protest was organised by the Pension Parishad, they are demanding for their right to avail a minimum pension of Rs 3000 thousand a month, which the government has failed to provide due to delay in payments or lack of proper bio-metrics facility in the region causing huge inconvenience to the concerned person.
Their demand is justified as most of the elderly person after retiring from formal or informal unemployment live a less secure and inhumane life because of their dependency on their children who have turned out to be non- supportive. According the report, released to commemorate the United Nations’ World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, irrespective of their financial status, most old people face abuse in one form or the other.
As per the study conducted by Agewell Foundation it has been observed that due to the lack of awareness about their rights in old age, many people are compelled to live in inhuman conditions.
But this lack of awareness on part of the aged and the insensitive people around them does not give a possible ground for human rights violation. Indian cinema has been quite vocal and supportive of the discrimination faced by the elderly with movies like Avatar(1983) and Bhagban (2003) and now it is time for the state to realise the same. The society and state can collectively transform the manner in which the issue of old age is addressed, so that the elderly can lead a life of dignity and respect.