With Coronavirus fatality among older people higher than the global average and the older generation facing much challenges, the United Nations has urged everyone to stand with these people and uphold their rights.
“For older persons, the crisis is exacerbating existing human rights protection gaps and socio-economic challenges. We need to stand up now for older person’s rights,” UN Secretary General António Guterres said.
He said that the rights and dignity of older people should be respected and upheld. He said this against the backdrop of age discrimination, disparities in social protection and healthcare. Stating that he was also an older person, Guttreres said that he was deeply concerned about the pandemic on a personal level, and about its effects on the communities and societies.
He also mentioned that older people contributed immeasurably to their families and communities. They did this by sacrificing their own well-being, he added. “Our COVID-19 response must be cognizant of all of these matters” and “must respect the rights and dignity of older people,” the chief said.
Guterres said that the long term service and health care for older people should recognise and confront the challenges these people face. This includes their ability to access medical treatment and care. The Chief stressed that the older people had the same right to live as others.
He mentioned that the pandemic was not only causing hardship to the health of older people but it was also pushing them to isolation, poverty and discrimination. As such, he maintained that all social, humanitarian and economic responses must take into consideration the needs of older people.
He also mentioned that the majority of the older people were women.
Meanwhile, UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons Rosa Kornfeld-Matte said that Pervasive gerontophobia – the age related self-degeneration and death encouraged prejudice against older people. It also led to discrimination and denial of human rights in older age, Rosa Kornfeld-Matte said.