On World Day, Ban urges adoption of laws, strategies to ensure dignity for elderly persons

Elderly woman refugee. Photo: UNCHR

15 June 2014 – Warning that elderly people in all societies can be vulnerable to physical, psychological and financial abuse, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appealed to the international community to adopt measures to address all aspects of this routinely under-acknowledged public health, social and human rights issue.

Mr. Ban made this call on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which aims annually to spotlight the global social issues affecting elderly people. The commemoration also brings the attention of the international community on the safeguarding of older human beings from mistreatment and suffering.

In his message on the Day, the UN chief emphasized the particularly high vulnerability of elderly women to widespread discriminatory attitudes and practices.

In countries which are witnessing a long-term process of aging, the mistreatment towards older people is likely to rise further. Those abuses towards the elderly could generate physical injuries and long-lasting psychological consequences.

Ill-treatment is likely to occur with little recognition and could often be identified as private matters by many societies across the world.

It is estimated that between four and six percent of older persons worldwide have suffered from some forms of abuse. However, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) has suggested that there is often a lack of acknowledgment regarding the abuses and violence that many older persons suffer on a daily basis.

“I call on Member States to enact and enforce stronger laws and strategies to address all aspects of this under-acknowledged social, public health and human rights issue” the Secretary-General said, underlining also how all human beings are all born with the right to age with dignity, without being victim of any violence, nor abuse.


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