The time has come…
Many of you who read my blogs will be by now familiar with one of my contentions that there is in existence a systemic age discrimination, which results in unfair and unequal treatment of older people in modern society. This is so endemic that it has become part and parcel of the wallpaper of our realities – so subtle, so pervasive that it is not even noticed; it is just accepted as a given, as a state of unalterable being. It’s almost the same position that racism was in the 1950s and early 1960s – so unconsciously accepted as a social norm in the UK that it went unnoticed – except by its victims.
I was therefore delighted that after a robust and serious examination that the UN Independent Expert Rosa Kornfeld-Matte presented a comprehensive report on the rights of older people to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 15th September. Her report states that current international provisions are not sufficient to fully protect older people’s rights, and calls on states to consider a new convention. She also concluded that, despite some good or promising practices, the implementation of existing law does not adequately ensure older people’s rights are upheld either.
As one delegate stated:
“A new convention would provide comprehensive protection of older people’s rights in law, a system through which to hold governments to account and a powerful advocacy tool for older people to claim their rights,”
“It would help bring about a shift away from the stigmatising and dehumanising ageist attitudes that currently dominate the way older people are seen and treated, moving instead towards recognition of older people as active rights holders.”
The creation of a new convention for older people would help embed some existing good practice and ensure, especially in the area of social care, equal treatment for older citizens, not least by demanding adequate financial provision for that group of the population.
I am delighted that Scottish Care has over the last year continued our work of putting the human rights of older people in Scotland at the centre of our care and support. We have launched two conventions and have a dedicated human rights project. See https://www.scottishcare.org/human-rights/
The time has come for us in Scotland to join the campaign to create a framework of rights which recognises the distinctive discriminatory experience, both at societal and personal levels, which all too many older citizens endure and experience.
This coming Saturday the 1st October is the UN International Day of Older Persons and the theme is “Take a stand against ageism”. I hope you can spread the message and join any activities that might be happening near you. http://www.un.org/en/events/olderpersonsday/index.shtml