Time for a new UN convention on the rights of older people

Today is the United Nations International Day of Older Persons. As the number of older people grows in developed countries they are becoming a much bigger force.

Yet as we see in the UK the government pays mere lip service to them – trying to present the general public with the idea that they are all well off and preferring to focus on the young.

Indeed the present Tory government thinks it can get away with targeting them – along with the poor- for the mainstay of their new post pandemic austerity polices.

In the last few years they have taken away free TV licences for the over 75s, abolished the ” triple lock ” for pension rises for one of the lowest state pensions in developed countries, continually raise the pension age and targeted women born in the 1950s and 1960s -taking away around £50,000 in pension payments by raising their pension age.

Many people aged 60 cannot now get free bus passes until they are 66 and ministers now have their plans to make them pay full prescription charges from the ages of 60 to 66 – knowing that far more of them are unhealthy and suffer chronic ailments than younger people. And they are going to reintroduce national insurance contributions for those over 66 who supplement their pension by working.

Older people facing redundancy

There are also problems for older people being targeted for redundancies -indeed the organisation Rest Less, (website here) which monitors job prospects for the over 50s, suggests that there were half a million people over the age of 50 on furlough according to the latest figures. They are reporting growing numbers of economically inactive people in their 50s and 60s. How are they going to get a full pension?

So it is rather good news that JustFair – a campaigning organisation – is calling for a new international convention on the rights of older people. You can read about them and their proposal here. Sufficient to say it highlights a lot of issues affecting older women – and it has the backing of CEDAWinLaw which held a tribunal examining women’s rights and the case for putting that UN convention on eliminating all forms of discrimination against women into UK law.

As it says: “Gender inequality in older age is the result of disadvantages accumulated over the life course and further exacerbated by ageism and age discrimination. As a result, many older women are denied their rights, a situation further aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic with its disproportionate effect on both older persons and women. It is estimated that the impact of the pandemic increased the gender gap by a generation.  This means that women will continue to reach older age in a disadvantaged position unless structural changes are made“.

Internationally the UN is highlighting a huge digital divide between developed nations and developing countries over the internet with older people the worst affected.

Yet, one-half of the global population is off-line, with the starkest contrast between the most developed countries (87%) and the least developed countries (19%) (ITU Facts and Figures 2020).

Age UK Dacorum’s campaign to highlight the UN day

There are also lots of local events today highlighting the day. In my area in Hertfordshire Dacorum Age UK have a fund raising campaign called ” Slip into Slippers” celebrating the dignity of old age and the fact that many older people play a big role in the community.

Charlie Hussey, development officer for Age UK Dacorum said: “We are asking individuals businesses schools and clubs to get involved by Slipping into Slippers for some of the day, and encourage people to have some fun, make a small voluntary donation and take some photos / videos. All to raise funds and awareness of Age UK Dacorum and highlight the needs of older people and equally importantly the contributions they can still make to our community. “

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4 thoughts on “Time for a new UN convention on the rights of older people

  1. oh, there is another ‘trick’ unelected g-men like to do to old people, and some not even that old…..slap the dementia label on them! Private people/ companies then get to steal their homes and everything they own, the victim is then thrown into prison/ care home, drugged out of their brains and forced to pay many hundred pounds every week for the privilege…. You have off spring with a backbone still intact? One woman took her Dad to see a solicitor/ seek legal advice over it….some judge threw her in prison for two years and slapped a gagging order on it, no actual trial or anything required…..she had served her sentence by the time Christopher Booker spent 150K+ to get said gagging order over returned and report on it….now how many journalists have those kind of resources? Never mind the inclination…even then you still have to wait on a say so of somebody to be ‘allowed’ to speak in what is supposedly a free cuntry…(freudian typo was intentional)…

    So what else could they possibly be covering up…..?

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  2. Dear David Hencke
    Admin Over 50s party (not yet existing) would be the first government, by your kind votes in next general election, to unravel the discrimination against women aged over 50, as well as policies for all ages, of course, from 1 to 100.

    Might you care, please, to help bringing it about, by writing about. Contact me via email, please. Thanks

    Website – over50sparty org uk

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  3. The idea for a UN Convention on Older People is a sound idea. Unfortunately the UK has a rather sad history in responding positively to these UN Conventions. Decades after CEDAW we are still waiting for this to be ratified into law.
    You are absolutely correct that there are ideas peddled in this country that all Pensioners are well off, I’m sure there are millions of Pensioners in this country who wish that were true. Personally I think this Government have gotten into the habit of using Pensions and indeed Pensioners as a sort of ‘fall back’ cash machine, to be plundered on a whim .After all, that is the sole reason for the increase in the age before 10950/60’s Women can retire and claim their State Pension. It has nothing to do with equality, just an easy way to easy money. If it was indeed a case of equality then the retirement age for men could have been lowered to 60, but then there’s no money for the Government in that idea is there. The working classes in this country are just cannon fodder to be worked to death, preferably before they can actually claim a State Pension, to the benefit of the wealthy and elite.
    Nobody will ever be able to convince me that the situation for older people won’t get anything other than even worse than it is. the only reason that older people seem to have money, is because they have worked all their lives for it. Where will this Government’s attention turn to when that well has been sucked dry?

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  4. Pingback: Have I got older (people) news for you!? (October 2021) – Leeds Older People’s Forum

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