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The Enjoyment of all Human Rights by Older Persons


Permanent Mission of Fiji to Geneva




[Fiji Mission to the United Nations in Geneva]

Thank you Mr. President.

The custom in Fiji, like that of many other Pacific Island States, places great value on older persons and they are treated with the utmost deference and respect in the customary context.

In indigenous communities, the elders are the decision makers on matters of custom. As people age, customarily, they assume roles of such significance in the community and their wisdom is often sought after. In the customary context and setting, their human rights and social inclusion are safeguarded.

However, as the Independent Expert’s report accurately captures, in the context of urbanisation and in an urban setting, the risk of social exclusion rendering older persons unable to fully enjoy their human rights does indeed become a problem. Particularly, in situations where many no longer subscribe to customary norms of deference and respect for older persons; as may be the case with the marginal man.

It is these circumstances that calls for a human rights based approach to ageing with a comprehensive and holistic view of the role and participation of older persons in society so that they are not left behind, consistent with the 2030 Agenda. In developing such an approach, it may also be prudent to integrate the customary norms that not only encourage the participation of older persons but affords them immense status in society and even in decision-making.

The development of such a framework would require thorough strategizing to foster partnerships between multisector stakeholders and should be developed with the involvement of older persons.

The recommendations of the Independent Expert with respect to the development of such a framework is appreciated and we further support the call for an international legal instrument to promote and protect the rights and dignity of older persons.

I thank you Mr President.




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