The Human Rights and Anti Discrimination Commission says lockdowns, physical distancing and limitations to our rights and freedoms during these extraordinary times must not be used as an excuse to neglect and ill-treat older persons in our communities.
While speaking on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Commission Director, Ashwin Raj reiterates that older persons in our society are equal in dignity and rights and deserve to live a life free of violence, neglect and abuse.
Raj says the elderly in our society are disproportionately affected not only by discrimination on the basis of their age and stigma but they also face intersectional forms of violence and discrimination.
He says older persons are more vulnerable and at a greater risk of facing violence, discrimination and neglect during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Raj says older persons must remain integrated in society and participate in national development.
He says they must have access to institutions of justice, humanitarian support and enjoy subsistence rights including the right to food, water, sanitation, health and housing.
The Director also says older persons must be able to exercise their human rights, including the right to privacy, to bodily autonomy and integrity and the right to make decisions about the quality of their life, whether they are residing in their own homes or in care facilities or shelter.
Raj says the elderly must be treated fairly regardless of their age, disability and any other prohibited grounds of discrimination.
He further says older persons must be protected against verbal, psychological, physical and sexual abuse.
Raj says the elderly also must have access to accurate and timely information about COVID-19 vaccinations as well as other health and medical services available so that they can make an informed decision about the quality of their life.
He says we all have a role to play in ensuring that elder persons are not left behind.
Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations