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U.N. promotes human rights of elderly with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

By
Kyle Barnett
The United Nations is advocating for the elderly through World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. File Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI
The United Nations is advocating for the elderly through World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. File Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

June 14 (UPI) -- The United Nations has declared June 15 World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

The human rights wing of the oversight organization highlighted elderly as being more susceptible to neglect, physical and psychological abuse, as well as more likely to be openly mocked.

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The message of newly named independent U.N. expert Claudia Mahler is clear -- not to allow any abuse of the human rights of the elderly.

"Policies based on ageist attitudes cannot be tolerated, and I urge states to monitor and implement measures to avoid ageist approaches," Mahler said in a press release. "Older persons need to have access to accountability mechanisms that provide for remedies and redress when their human rights are violated."

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Mahler called on all governments, including the international community, to take action to protect the elderly from psychological and physical abuse.

An uptick in online abuse and discrimination toward the baby boomer generation in particular has been noted.

"Derogatory comments in the media are a direct attack against the dignity of older persons," Mahler said. "The 'boomer remover' hashtag attached to coronavirus posts and media articles calling for older persons to sacrifice themselves to save the economy or to safeguard younger generations by exposing themselves to the virus are clearly reflections of bias against older persons."

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The call for proper treatment comes after COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the elderly community.

The pandemic endangered not only the lives of the elderly, but also their access to medical care and even their pensions.

Around two-thirds of those age 70 and older have at least one underlying condition that puts them at great risk of illness or death from COVID-19.

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"While older persons have become more visible in the COVID-19 outbreak, their voices, opinions and concerns remain unheard. Verbal and derogatory online abuse have profound negative effects on the human rights of older persons," Mahler said.

It is predicted that from 2019 to 2030 the number of people 60 and older will grow by 38%, from 1 billion to 1.4 billion.

"Older people have the same rights to life and health as everyone else. Difficult decisions around life-saving medical care must respect the human rights and dignity of all," U.N. chief António Guterres said.

The U.N. is advocating for the elderly to enjoy the same rights and the same medical care.

"No person, young or old, is expendable," Guterres said.

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