By Hassan Zaggi
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has called on governments across the world to expunge discriminatory laws and initiate policies that recognize older people as autonomous individuals.
The UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem, stated this in a statement to mark the International Day of Older Persons, a copy which was made available to The AUTHORITY in Abuja, yesterday.
“We owe it to them to make sure our laws and policies challenge discrimination and recognize them as autonomous individuals.
“On this International Day of Older Persons, I extend my respect and gratitude to those older advocates whose early efforts continue to benefit us all and will make a difference to generations of women and girls for decades to come,” she stressed.
While noting that one in 9 persons currently is aged 60 or older, she reiterated that this is projected to increase to one in 5 by 2050.”
While stressing that older people make meaningful contribution to the socio-economic development of their various countries, the UNFPA Chief regretted that: “Older people are often seen as burdens who no longer contribute to the economy, but nothing could be further from reality. Older people everywhere are making enormously important contributions to their families, communities and society more generally.
“Many have led the struggle for reproductive rights and should be recognized for their courage, inspiration and commitment to empowering individuals to make their own decisions about the timing and spacing of pregnancy.”
According to her, the 2002 Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing called for the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of all older persons.
“Older persons have a right to live with dignity and security, to enjoy access to essential health and social services and a minimum income to maintain independence, prevent impoverishment and age healthfully,” she further stressed.