Broaden laws for elders' rights: Prof. Savitri
Aug 17, 2012
The scope of elders’ rights laws should be broadened instead of continuing with the existing regulations, as they are quite limited and do not specify the most significant issues pertaining to elders’ rights, Professor Emeritus Savitri Gunesekere said yesterday. Ageing is a natural process. Therefore it is important to provide the due equal respect and dignity to these human beings

Speaking at the national consultation session organized by the United Nations Development Fund (UNDP) on Elders’ Rights for the upcoming UN convention on Elders’ Rights, Prof. Gunasekere pointed out even the term ‘elders’ in the country is still unspecified, as the public sector chooses 58 as the mandatory age for retirement while it’s 60 for the private sector.

“Sri Lanka’s constitution still does not distinctively recognize the human rights of elders. Therefore, it is vital to go beyond generalities and address the need for specificity with concern to elders’ rights. The laws are in place, but there is a need to build on them and make the regulations fairly comprehensive,” she added.

She also said it was important to transform the increasing ageing population in the country into a positive factor that would contribute to the country’s growth, instead of treating it in the likes of a crisis.

“Ageing is a natural process. Therefore it is important to provide the due equal respect and dignity to these human beings,” she said speaking at the conference yesterday, adding that treating the elders with dignity and for them to have a choice and being able to move from one stage of life to the other with equal opportunities.

Meanwhile, Deputy Solicitor General Shavindra Fernando also speaking on the value of broadening the scope of regulations pertaining to elders’ rights said the establishment of a UN convention as opposed to the existing UN declaration on Elders’ Rights is significant, as it would be a legally binding document that would protect and uphold the elders’ rights.

Also speaking on the importance of establishing the UN convention on Elders’ Rights, UN Resident Representative - Sri Lanka, Dr. Subinay Nandy said it had been revealed during the first cycle of the Universal periodic Review, that older persons’ human rights issue has been rarely addressed.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka