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In November 2010, the Third Committee - one of the working committees of the United Nations General Assembly - adopted a landmark resolution on older people's rights.
In this resolution, the General Assembly decided to set up a working group to consider how to strengthen the protection of older people's rights. It will do this by looking at the adequacy of the existing international human rights framework, identifying any gaps and considering the possibility of new human rights instruments.
It is expected that this committee will work flat out in an effort to come up with human rights instruments that end discrimination against older persons.
Interestingly, in its programming activities, HelpAge Zimbabwe, through the Protracted Recovery Program (PRP) established older persons committees at grass root level in 5 wards of Zvishavane rural in an effort to ensure that older persons are well represented in communities. This was after the realization that older persons concerns were not prioritized by a number of community members. (You can visit http://www.prpzim.info/default/ for further information about PRP).
Whilst regional and international policies are appreciated, domesticating such policies and agreements into indigenous policies and laws further protects vulnerable groups such as older persons. In Zimbabwe, the government formulated a bill for older persons which amongst other things seeks to cushion older persons against poverty by coming up with a fund for older persons. The bill will also make way for the formation of a board that looks into all matters affecting older persons.
Zimbabwe was one of the first countries in Africa to formulate a Bill for Older persons soon after the second World Assembly on Ageing in 2002. A key part of the accompanying Political Declaration after the Madrid International Plan of Action on ageing reads: "We commit ourselves to eliminate all forms of discrimination, including age discrimination. We also recognise that persons, as they age, should enjoy a life of fulfillment, health, security and active participation in the economic, social, cultural and political life of their societies.
"We are determined to enhance the recognition of the dignity of older persons, and to eliminate all forms of neglect, abuse and violence."
• specifies that ageing should be incorporated into global development agendas
• calls for the right of older people to an equal share of development resources
• urges governments to include older people in national-development and social-policy processes (such as poverty-reduction strategies and national development plans)
• contains detailed sections on growing areas of concern for older people and their families, including poverty, HIV/AIDS, violence and abuse, access to health services and social protection
• Calls for effective collaboration and partnership between governments, civil society, international agencies and the private sector with older people and their organisations to achieve the Plan's objectives.
Since 2002, nothing has materialised, the bill is still circulating within government ministries and departments. Advocacy efforts by HelpAge Zimbabwe include, the Age Demands Action Campaign and The International Day for Older Persons. Age Demands Action is an internationally coordinated campaign where older persons meet relevant government ministries and departments to discuss issues affecting older persons. The Age Demands Action campaign feeds into the International day of older persons (Commemorated annually on the 1st of October) where these government ministries present solutions to concerns raised by older during the Age Demands Action Campaign. Kenya, Cameroon, South Africa and Ghana are some of the few countries in Africa that managed to develop a sound social protection policy.
Key issues affecting older persons
1. Lack of an act of parliament, policies and schemes that directly and adequately address issues affecting older persons as well as protecting older persons from any form of abuse
2. Their caring role to people living with HIV and AIDS as well as orphans and other vulnerable children. 60% of orphans in Zimbabwe are under the care of older persons.
3. Lack of social protection mechanisms such as non-contributory pensions that help ease poverty associated with ageing
4. Poor access to health services and medication
5. The burden of care of orphans and other vulnerable children posed by in adequate resources to support their caring role
To get full text of the resoulution kindly follow the following link http://www.helpage.org/newsroom/latest-news/un-adopts-landmark-resolutio...