The theme of this year’s International Day of Older Persons, “Rights of Older Persons”, is especially apt in this year in which we mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Promoting the independence, participation and dignity of older persons has long been on the agenda of the United Nations and is central to implementation of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing.  In adopting that Plan six years ago at the Second World Assembly on Ageing, UN Member States committed “to eliminating all forms of discrimination, including age discrimination”.  They recognized “that persons, as they age, should enjoy a life of fulfillment, health, security and active participation in the economic, social, cultural and political life of their societies”.  And they determined “to enhance the recognition of the dignity of older persons and to eliminate all forms of neglect, abuse and violence”.

Chair of IAHSA’s International Relations Committee, Dr. William Smith, will attend the meetings tomorrow at the United Nations, ensuring that the voice of ageing service providers is added to the discussion.