Foundation tasks govts, stakeholders on older persons’ rights
Abuja, April 22, 2019 Dr Emem Omokaro, the Executive Director, Dave Omokaro Foundation, has called governments and relevant stakeholders to ensure protection of older persons in the society.
Omokaro, who is also the Co-Chair Stakeholders Group on ageing, made the appeal during a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Monday.
She emphasised the need to address the diminished rights of older persons dependence and autonomy in the African context.
She explained that older persons still faced challenges of lack of social protection, inequalities, marginalisation and discrimination.
She added that these problems had made the older persons vulnerable.
The executive director noted that these challenges were part of her submission raised to be addressed at a Stakeholders Group on Ageing Africa (SGA Africa) at the UN side event organised by Dave Omokaro Foundation.
“We did a survey involving 1,063 older persons across 10 countries, seven of which were African countries.
“The 99 per cent expressed the importance to them of their rights to self determination, the value of their freedom to make decisions concerning all aspects of their lives without undue dependence and influence.
“The 91 per cent said they do not know these rights and 44 per cent across all the domains of care and support services; where to live and with whom to live with as well as decisions concerning long term and palliative care.
“They said all those are very limited and in some cases they do not have any choices,” she explained.
Omokaro attributed the limitations of older persons to accumulated disadvantages occasioned by inequalities, marginalization and discrimination throughout the life course.
“In addition, ageism and simultaneous overlapping deprivations including lack of access to adequate income security.
“Others include social protection, health insurance, life long learning to update skills, underdeveloped rural infrastructure which deny access to social public services,” said the expert.
She noted that in the African region in spite of SDGs Agenda 2030 and the efforts of member states, less than 22 per cent of older persons were covered by contributory and social pensions.
According to her, multidimensional poverty affects independence of older people in terms of living arrangements.
She added that research had confirmed that in spite of traditional obligation of shared family residence older persons preferred to live in their personal units, even within extended family community.
She also noted that only the poor, the sick and frail, and the unmarried – widows live with relatives.
The Stakeholder Group on Ageing Side Event was designed to galvanize support of African member states for a new UN Convention for the Rights of Older Persons.
She explained that the event was organized by Dave Omokaro Foundation and International Federation on Ageing, and was co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Nigeria, Morocco and South Africa.
She said others who cosponsored were Kenya, Argentina, Norway and Chad to the United Nations.
Also in attendance were high level officials of the UN deparrment of economic and social affairs, UN office of the high commissioner on human rights, UN NGO committee on ageing and Global alliance for the rights of older persons.
NNN reports that the event was held on the margins of 10 session of the UN open ended working group on ageing (UNOEWGA).