Intensify policy, programme implementation to protect elderly- CHRAJ to govt

The Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has called on government to intensify the implementation of programmes and policies aimed at protecting the elderly in the country.

The programmes and policies, it noted, should focus on inclusion, poverty reduction, equality promotion and non-discrimination, which were major challenges facing the elderly.

It further urged the government to pay attention to, and challenge negative stereotypes and misconceptions about older persons and the aged, pursue age-friendly environments free of physical and social barriers and enable older persons to realise their potentials.

This was contained in a statement issued in Accra yesterday by CHRAJ on the occasion of this year’s commemoration of the International Day of Older Persons.

Marked annually on October 1, this year’s celebration is on the theme “Resilience of Older Persons in a Changing World.”

The Day is aimed at reminding the world of the significant contributions that older people make in traversing global challenges, and finding solutions with resilience and strength and also raises awareness of the importance of leaving no one behind.

The Commission also asked government to raise awareness of the importance of improved data collection disaggregated by age, highlight the resilience of older persons in the face of environmental, social, economic, and lifelong inequalities.

Additionally, it advocated the promotion of policy dialogues to enhance the protection of older persons’ human rights, and recognise their contributions to sustainable development.

Over the past years, the statement said, Ghana had put in place some policy interventions including National Ageing Policy (NAP), which sought to address several ageing issues, National Pension Scheme, and Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP).

It noted that, although some gains have been made by improving the rights and wellbeing of older persons in Ghana, it said, there remained a lot to do.

“For instance, the NAP which was promulgated in 2010 with the aim to achieve the overall social, economic, and cultural re-integration of older persons into mainstream society is yet to be fully implemented.

The National Pension Scheme has a limiting scope, as majority of older persons in Ghana who work in the informal sector and are unable to contribute to the scheme are excluded from any pension benefits or any other income support in their old age. Also, the National Ageing Bill, which is to integrate the rights and needs of older persons into national policies is yet to be finalised and passed into law,” the statement added.

Despite the challenges, it noted that the voices, perspectives and needs of elders were critical to creating meaningful policies that advance the country towards the achievement of Universal Health Coverage across the African continent.

In this regard, the Commission was concerned by Ghana’s delay in ratifying the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Older Persons saying that “it is important for ageing issues to be mainstreamed into national development policies.”

 The active participation of older persons in society and development, the statement explained, was based on providing older persons with the opportunity to continue contributing to society.

“These contributions reach beyond their economic activities and extend into their roles in families and in the community.

Participation in social, economic, cultural, sporting, recreational and volunteer activities also contribute to the growth and maintenance of the personal well-being of older persons,” it noted.

According to the Commission, this year’s International Day of Older Persons was a call to action and opportunity aimed at embracing the voice of older persons and to display their resilience and contribution in society.


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