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Nov 29, 2018

HelpAge International Concludes Sub-Regional Conference

A sub-regional conference of HelpAge International concluded today at the Ramada Princess in Belize City.  Six countries in region examined a convention that was signed in 2015 under the Organization of American States in respect of the protection of the human rights of older persons in Latin America and the Caribbean. But only Costa Rica and El Salvador have since signed the convention. Belize and many others have not signed the accord. HelpAge Belize Chairman, Evan Dakers, says that it means that the rights of this vulnerable population are not properly protected, despite the existence of a national policy on older persons.

 

Evan Dakers

Evan Dakers, Chairman, HelpAge Belize

“We have various covenants and in some cases plans of actions that does mention the rights of older persons, but it is usually incorporated with other vulnerable groups—for example, women and children. However, this is an attempt starting first in Latin America and the Caribbean for HelpAge international focusing exclusively on older persons as a vulnerable group. And it is extremely important because as you and I know, we have had recent incidents of brutal abuse of older persons. We have a number of organizations in the country that has a mandate to protect the rights of older persons. I want to start with the Ministry of Human Development and in particular the National Council of Ageing; that is an organization within that ministry which has government’s mandate to monitor the implementation of the National Policy on Older Persons. That policy has been around since 2002; so we are talking about fifteen, sixteen years now. And of course we have a number of N.G.O.s including HelpAge Belize of which I am a part of. But as we always say, strength is in numbers and I believe that the first move is for the National Council of Ageing to come up with a strategy and work plan with timelines which focuses on ensuring that all those organization that are working with the elderly become familiar with this particular convention. What are the rights of older persons, what are the responsibilities of the state, what are the responsibilities of these entities that claim that they are working with the elderly. And then I think from there, we can come up with a consensus so that when we decide to go and sign, we know fully well what we are signing for.”

 

Dakers says that there are twenty-seven rights that will be monitored if and when Belize ratifies the O.A.S. convention.

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