International Day of Older Persons
1 October 2008
Message of Thoraya Ahmed Obaid
Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund
Today, on the International Day of Older Persons, we celebrate rising life expectancy in many regions of the world as one of humanity’s major achievements.
We pay tribute to older persons and the wisdom that comes with a lifetime of experience. And we acknowledge the unprecedented demographic transition that is underway in our world, with the number of persons aged 60 and older rising rapidly.
The theme of this year’s observance, "Rights of Older Persons,” points to the urgent need to promote and protect the rights of older people.
Today, cases of neglect and abuse are widespread. Of particular concern are the millions of older poor, especially women, who are struggling alone to make ends meet. Many older persons have no social safety net to rely on—they lack access to basic social services such as health care.
It is time to recognize the significant contributions that older persons make to our families, communities and societies. And it is time to do more to promote and protect their human rights and freedoms. Older persons are among the most vulnerable of population groups.
This year marks the sixtieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Let us use this opportunity to strengthen dialogue between generations and renew our commitment to promote and protect human rights for all.
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