All the official declarations from government officials in Sint Maarten on this International Day of Older Persons do not really address the theme of this year proposed by the United Nations: “Leaving No One Behind: Promoting a Society for All”.
“We cannot afford to leave behind hundreds of millions of older persons,” says UN rights expert
The new United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, calls on all States to ensure that the concerns of older persons are reflected in the post-2015 development agenda in a cross-cutting manner. On occasion of the 24th UN International Day of Older Persons, Ms. Kornfeld-Matte urges Governments around the world to promote full inclusion of older persons in society by combatting ageism, age discrimination and stigmatization. “We can turn a blind eye to many issues as if they do not concern us. But getting old is part of life and we will all pay the price for our inaction. Age, as well as gender and where people live, affect the enjoyment of human rights by older persons, who are often stigmatized as ‘non-productive’ or ‘irrelevant’. I call on all States to combat ageism, age discrimination and stigmatization, which are among the obstacles older persons face in the enjoyment of their rights, in order to achieve and sustain the inclusion of older persons in society.Today, on the International Day of Older Persons, I urge all Governments to ensure that the concerns of older persons are reflected in the post-2015 development agenda in a cross-cutting manner. The post-2015 development agenda presents a unique opportunity to ensure a rights-based approach to older persons and can help changing attitudes and perceptions from older persons being considered recipients of welfare to rights holders with responsibilities. Ageing is not an affliction, it is an opportunity to make use of resources acquired over the life course, and older persons all around the world make significant contributions to society.”
If seniors are still left behind and set aside, if they still have to survive with less means and care then the social protection floor in the State the Kingdom of the Netherlands has to observe for all, what are we congratulating the seniors with on this day? Who we have to congratulate for this achievement? Which of the integrity committees has addressed this integrity issue: even though the Kingdom of the Netherlands has ratified the International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights, on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Kingdom government officials and politicians do not protect the rights of the seniors in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. With all kind of geo-political arguments they corrupt our right to an equal realization of these rights on the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Discrimination is a violation of our human rights. As long as this continues we cannot congratulate nobody but we have to support the struggle for socieal justice of the seniors in this part of the Kingdom and eliminate all barriers of social exclusion and discrimination.
In a subsequent press release we will detail how the SMSPA will address the ageism, discrimination and stigmatization of Dutch Caribbean seniors in an upcoming seminar.