On July 5-7th 2017, I participated on the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing Eighth Working Session as an APPA intern in NY city. The two main focus area were "Equality and Non-discrimination" and "Violence, Neglect and Abuse" of older persons. After a brief presentation of each panelist, the chair of the session led the interactive discussions by accepting comments from the floor. The representative of each country and International organization raised questions responding to the presentations of the panelists.
The number of old persons keep increasing while they are discriminated and abused physically, psychologically, financially and sexually, etc. In addition, they are neglected and there is no sufficient data or research protecting their rights. Panelists argued that further efforts to establish explicit and internationally accepted measure would be required. The legislation should consider old persons as individuals rather than collective group. EU and Argentina pointed out that defining international standard that can be applicable for all member states will be the main difficulty.
Through the session, I realized that neglect is a serious problem and it is a main obstacle for the further development of the world. Maria Soledad Cisternas Reyes said that the presence of older persons is “minimal”. The number of elderly abuses are underestimated because their family members commit most of abuses. Also even the political legislation and research team neglected the aging issue. Only 1.6 percent of UN's SDG mentioned about the aging issue specifically said Maria. The lack of data makes the establishment of international standard more difficult.
When we arrive the session, I was shocked because only 1/3 of the conference room was filled. I thought that the low number of representatives from each country show the current low interests on the ageing issue. People are unintentionally neglecting older people, but as Kay Patterson mentioned, "Those who are in 90s cannot wait!" I believe that ageing is an urgent issue and immediate government action is necessary. The session grant me opportunity to think about the aging issues and raise awareness of it.
UN APPA NGO Intern Haeun Kwon (International Studies major, Yonsei University)