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United Nations International Day of Older Persons

The aim of this year’s event was to begin a process that will lead to the development and acceptance of an international Convention (a treaty) to ensure the Human Rights of Older Persons.

By Deborah DiGilio

The 18th Annual Celebration of the United Nations International Day of Older Persons--A Call for a Convention on the Rights of Older Persons was held on October 2nd, 2008. APA Committee on Aging chair-elect, Dr. Merla Arnold, PhD, RN, and the Director of the Office on Aging, Deborah DiGilio, MPH, were invited to the event as guests of Florence Denmark, PhD, APA’s Main NGO Representative to the United Nations, and Chair of the NGO Committee on Ageing. This Committee works to raise world awareness of the opportunities and challenges of global aging and advocates within the UN community to further integrate aging in UN policies and programs.

The annual celebration is presented by the NGO Committee on Ageing in collaboration with the UN Department of Public Information, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and the UN Population Fund. As noted in the conference materials, the aim of this year’s event was to begin a process that will lead to the development and acceptance of an international Convention (a treaty) to ensure the Human Rights of Older Persons. The keynote speakers were Sergei Zelenev, Chief Director of UN Social Policy and Development Division at the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and H.E. Minister Paulo de Tarso Vannuchi, Special Secretary for Human Rights in Brazil. A panel of five speakers from Ghana, Argentina, Lebanon, the Czech Republic and Nepal gave reports on the progress of aging issues in their countries. The afternoon was spent in breakout sessions to develop strategies for moving towards a Convention on the Rights of Older Persons. Ψ