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Open Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG 14): "Violence, Abuse, Ageism – A Great Gap in the Human Rights of Older Persons” - Natasa Todorovic, Red Cross of Serbia


At the invitation of the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Austria and the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the United Nations, Nataša Todorović, representative of the Red Cross of Serbia, participated in an event on May 22, 2024, titled "Violence, Abuse, Ageism – A Great Gap in the Human Rights of Older Persons." Participants at this event included: Claudia Mahler, Independent Expert on the Human Rights of Older Persons; Verena Schriebl, Federal Ministry of Social Protection, Health Protection, and Consumer Protection; Alexandre da Silva, State Secretary for the Rights of Older Persons, Brazil; Silvia Perel-Levin, International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse; Yongjie Yon, World Health Organization.

The conclusion that Nataša Todorović emphasized at the end of her statement is derived not only from research but also from practical work. Crucially, it is important to work on challenging ageism in the society and change harmful social norms that enable, normalize and hide violence. Ageist perception of older age and older women is why it becomes normal even for some older women to think it is acceptable to deny them their human rights. And we must never allow that. In conclusion: we need to end ageism because ageism is where it all starts.

Adopting a new UN Convention on the rights of Older Persons will help older women escape the no man’s land of regulation that are scattered between age and gender and fail to fully protect them or even fully understand them. We need to stop letting older women fall between the cracks and remind everyone that their human rights must be protected just like anyone else’s.