President of the Commission for the Rights of Older Persons of DIS-MOI
The Group of Friends of Older Persons (GOFOP) is a cross regional Group which was established during the 4th Session of the Open Ended Working Group on Ageing in 2013 with the objective of advocating, among other goals and measures, for the creation of the International Convention for the Rights and Dignity of Older Persons and to pursue the respect and protection of these rights. Since some years the common name for the Convention to be is UN Convention for the Rights of Older People. The philosophy and spirit remain intact.
Of the 25 member States of GOFOP, Kenya and South Africa are members of GOFOP. Now the feeling is that African countries are on board. Mauritius has, at the 9th and 10th sessions of the OEWGA in 2018 and 2019, pronounced its support of the Convention at the UN.
It would mean that a recommendation in favour of a Convention would very likely be agreed if the momentum is kept through more engagement from Member States.
The position of African countries is evidenced in the Report of Ministers’ Meeting of the Specialised Technical Committee on Social Development held in 2017 when Heads of States agreed in Paras. 41, 42, 43 urging ratification of the African Protocol and decided to support the development of a UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons:
Para 41: The meeting took note of the slow pace of signature and ratification of the older persons protocol and urged Member States to engage with Governments and with the advocacy of civil society to have the Protocol signed and ratified expeditiously.
Para 42: The Ministers further decided that:
i) The Commission should engage with Governments and CSOs for older persons and educate them about the Protocol, for older persons to influence their Governments to sign and ratify the Protocol.
b) Status of the development of the UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons and participation of AU Member States in the Open Ended Working Group for the Convention.
Para 43: The Ministers decided that:
i) Member States support the development of a UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons.
ii) Member States should use the AU Protocol on the Rights of Older Persons as reference at the international level when drafting the UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons.
iii) At UN level, a communication strategy and a road map should be developed for the development of the Convention.
In view of the policy on older people’s rights in Mauritius, the Protection of Elderly Act, social measures such as, inter alia, free medical services, doctors home visits and carers’ allowance, free transport services, old age pension, access to education, autonomy and independence, right of propriety, DIS-MOI is reiterating its requests as follows:
1) that Mauritius attend the 11th Session of the Open Ended Working Group on Ageing probably to be held in April 2021 and speak out its renewed support for a UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons ;
2) that Mauritius proceeds with the signature and ratification of the AU Protocol on the Rights of Older Persons
3) Further we urge upon the Government to join the Group of Friends of Older Persons at the UN because we believe sincerely Mauritius can play a vanguard role at this level and push towards more effective results in the upstream discussions to the April OEWG 11th Session.