Dear respected leaders, we are hereby submitting our memorandum kindly requesting you to enshrine it in your political manifesto for the upcoming elections: Thursday 7 November 2019.
This memorandum specifically targets older people, some 226,000 at the moment, expecting to rise to some 22.8 % in 2030 and 29.6 % in 2050 of a population of 1.3 million.
As you are aware our ageing population is a challenge as much as ageing is a challenge for the rest of the world, Africa included.
In consequence there are measures, short and long term, which require that they be included in your priorities:
A. A dedicated Ministry for the Elderly with specific attributions that would, inter alia, clear the role of the incumbent Minister, clear the specific mission and vision of the Ministry, open up to older people for the timely assessment of their health status, pension requirements, legislation, have a fresh look at the residential care homes, and entertainment and recreational activities.
Define relations with stakeholders, from other ministries, para-statals, non-governmental organisations, international NGOs, and others as may be required.
Assess the merits of Conventions and Protocols related to the rights of older people.
B. An Ombudsperson for Older People
Time is ripe for an Ombudsperson for older people in the same spirit as for the Ombudsperson for Children. The Office of the Ombudsperson would work in close collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission, the Senior Citizens Council and Elderly Watch Committees already in place. The staff of the Ombudsperson Office would, in the presence of complaints from older people who are victims of any sort, from ageism to violent and verbal abuse, and more, enquire and propose actions that are required.
C. Maintenance of Duty Free Allowance for purchase of motor vehicles at 60
A person with a disability needs even more financial resources even before he/she reaches the age of 60. At the moment the duty free facility is not granted when the disabled person reaches 60.
D. Decent Housing
Decent housing that would allow old people access apartments of several levels with easy supply of cooking gas as it is for the provision of domestic water and electricity supply.
The housing should provide for healthy ageing in and age friendly environment with recreational facilities around.
E. Personalised Bus Pass
Each time an older person travels in a bus he or she will use the pass on the basis of which bus companies would receive their subsidies. This would oblige buses to collect older persons on bus stops.
F. Electronic Security Bracelet
People are living longer and the risks of dementia and Alzheimer are higher than in previous decades. The provision of an electronic security bracelet on the wrist of an older person (in as much as the use of the bracelet is optional) connected to a central station would go far in saving the lives of many older persons. There would be no waste as the bracelet would be recuperated to pass it on to another user.
G. A new UN Convention for the Rights of Older People.
The State of Mauritius has taken a firm stand in favour of a new UN Convention for the Rights of Older People for the past two years at the 9th and 10th UN Open Ended Working Group on Ageing.
We are asking all parties to pledge that whoever are at the helm of Government maintain this very progressive stand at the 11th OEWGA to be held in April 2020 in New York. In parallel Government through the proposed Ministry for the Elderly would make submissions to the OEWGA on issues related to ageing, inter alia, health, social security, life-long learning, and access to legal service.
H. African Union Protocol
The State of Mauritius to sign and ratify the AU Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa.
It is time the State signed this Protocol which was adopted by The Twenty Sixth Ordinary Session of The Assembly held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 31 January 2016.
Mauritius is a window of good practices and policies in favour of older persons so that signing and ratifying the Protocol and being subject to AU’s scrutiny would not pose problem.
President for the Rights of Older People of DIS-MOI
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