On International Day of Older Persons, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls for elimination of age discrimination
The International Day of Older Persons is celebrated on 1 October and this year, it is dedicated to digital equality for all ages, pointing to the need for accessibility and inclusion of older people in the digital world.
As the population has been ageing, age discrimination in societies increases, while older people represent an often-overlooked population group. The existing international human rights law applicable to people of all ages generally covers the rights of older adults. However, this protection is not sufficient.
This is why Slovenia has been contributing to the debate on the human rights of older people for more than a decade and has been striving for increased protection of the rights of older people at global level. Slovenia’s active role is reflected in the leadership of the Cross-Regional Group of Friends of Older Persons in the context of the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, the membership of the Bureau of the UN Open-ended Working Group on Ageing in New York and, since this autumn, also in the resolution on the rights of older persons proposed by Brazil and Argentina for adoption at the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council. This will seek to place the protection of older people’s rights in an international legal framework, with the broadest possible consensus on the part of the international community. We also stress the importance of addressing older people through international bodies and independent human rights mechanisms.
On this occasion, the Ministry calls for the elimination of age discrimination and stresses the importance of involving older people in society where there is no room for stereotypes and prejudices about this particular age group. Intergenerational cooperation plays an important role here, among others in the light of access, education and the integration of older people into the digital environment. The inclusion of older people in society and the recognition of their social, cultural, economic and political contributions are key to improving the quality of life of older people, not least in the light of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has hit older people hardest, revealing a number of serious shortcomings in the protection of their rights. The latter were also highlighted by the UN Secretary-General in his report on the impact of COVID-19 on older persons, where he advocated strengthening national and international legal frameworks for the protection of the human rights of older people.
Nataša Bergelj, Head of the Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is participating in the 20th Festival for the Third Age, which is taking place at the moment and aims to raise awareness of the human rights of older people and the importance of active ageing and an inclusive society. She presented her international activities in a panel discussion, which touched upon the topics of how to avoid stereotypes around ageing and oldism.
The International Day of Older Persons was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly on 14 December 1990.