African leaders urged to ratify protocol on protecting welfare of older people
African Leaders at the on-going 30th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
London, Jan. 29, 2018 (AltAfrika)-Global campaigners on Monday called on African leaders in Addis Ababa to hasten ratification of a continental protocol on advancing the welfare of the aging population.
Global campaigners said in a statement issued in Addis Ababa at the ongoing 30th AU Summit.
The campaigners said that implementation of the protocol that was adopted by AU member States in 2016 is key to ensuring the continent’s elderly citizens live in dignity.
Prafulla Mishra, the Africa Regional Director, HelpAge International said: “as we mark the protocol’s second anniversary, only four member states have signed it and no single member has ratified it.
“This is a big setback for older people across the continent and goes against the spirit of protocol’s adoption as older men and women in Africa continue to face discrimination, abuse, neglect and violence in social, cultural and political spheres.”
The AU Heads of State Summit in January 2016 adopted the Protocol on the Rights of Older Persons that was expected to strengthen policy and legislative interventions aimed at improving the welfare of this demographic.
Mishra termed the adoption of this continental protocol a milestone in protection of the rights of older people but stressed that its implementation hinged on political goodwill.
“These people must not be let down,” said Mishra.
African lobby groups have rallied behind speedy ratification of the protocol on advancing the rights and welfare of senior citizens, who comprise an estimated 6.3 per cent of the continent’s population.
Augustine Lansana, the Head of a Sierra Leonean faith-based advocacy network, said ratification of the protocol would transform the lives of elderly citizens grappling with poverty, disease and neglect.
“The protocol if ratified and implemented has the potential to transform and significantly improve the well-being and quality of life of millions of older women and men in Sierra Leone and across Africa,” said Lansana.
Elisha Mwamkinga, the Executive Director of a Tanzanian Grassroots Advocacy Group, said that African governments must demonstrate their commitment to promote the welfare of senior citizens by ratifying the continental protocol.
“By ratifying the protocol, governments would be practicing what they preach by granting and safeguarding the rights of older people,” Mwamkinga said.
He noted that the Tanzanian government has reaffirmed its commitment to enact age-friendly policies and urged other African countries to follow suit.