Securing human rights of older people worldwide -paneelikeskustelun puheenvuoro German Senior Citizens’ Day -tapahtumassa 25.11.2021

Securing human rights of older people worldwide -paneelikeskustelun puheenvuoro German Senior Citizens’ Day -tapahtumassa 25.11.2021

Presidentti Halonen osallistui 25.11. 2021 German Senior Citizens’ Day -tapahtuman paneelikeskusteluun, jossa piti puheenvuoron ikääntyneiden ihmisoikeuksien turvaamisesta maailmanlaajuisesti.

All people must be able to enjoy their full human rights throughout their lifecycle, without discrimination

Human rights of older people are a very central part of the human rights framework. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Human Rights Convention and others prohibit discrimination based on age.

We have quite comprehensive international human rights framework in place. Most of the countries have also their own national human rights protection. I often say that international human rights framework is like a warm blanket. It keeps us all warm. But, if there are holes in this blanket, they need to be patched. Specialized treaties, like the CEDAW Convention (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women), are like patches to this blanket.

Even if the international human rights framework is in place, the most important thing is the implementation

This pandemic has been like a magnifying glass that has shown and amplified the existing problems in our societies.

Some well-intentioned measures have actually had a discriminatory effect. Isolation of the older people in the beginning of the pandemic ended up causing serious problems.

Mortality has risen in care facilities. Many of the facilities were isolated as a protection measure. But, this also hid some of the existing problems from public view: when relatives were unable to visit, they were also unable to see those problems

I also want to highlight that healthy aging is a key to achieving sustainable development goals.

But, older people must be subjects, not objects, in these debates. We now live longer and can remain active members of society for decades after our “active working life”. It is clear that this needs to be acknowledged better in the future

For that, we need good data and statistics: if reliable data is not collected of people over the age of 75, these people become virtually invisible. Data is power.