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Experts at World Human Rights Forum call for international protection of older persons’ human rights

A meeting hosted at the World Human Rights Forum (Marrakech 2014) brought together renowned national and international experts and specialists to address one of the major current international concerns: the rights of the elderly. Many international experts have spoken out at the UN about the need for a convention on the rights of older persons, and many believe that the time has come for an international protection for the rights of the elderly.

The participants of the meeting, held on Saturday November 29, 2014, discussed the opportunities and ways to promote the rights of the elderly. They unanimously agreed that old people have no legal protection and that this is a strategic failure of the international community.

They put the finger on the major legal and social issues that contributed to increasing vulnerability of this group of people. They exchanged on the demographic, cultural and social changes and their psychological effects on older persons, the limited legal protection and the insufficient and inappropriate social infrastructures devoted to the old persons.

A rich debate indeed. The participants made several preliminary recommendations, and called, particularly, for an international legal protection for the elderly and for more appropriate social structures for this group of people. These people need more attention. They need material care (accommodation, food, etc.) but our attention must extend to humanitarian and psychological aspects, as well, the participants said.

The participants also called for a human rights-based approach in policies and government care programs that target this vulnerable group. It is, and should be, the responsibility of the State to protect the elderly, not to mention the need to provide specialized trainings to develop the skills of young people in taking care of the elderly.

The meeting also emphasized the need to foster partnerships and encourage and help create civil society associations that can help address the issues of the elderly, the need to encourage more doctors to specialize in aging diseases, to train medical doctors to address age-related health problems, etc.