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Inclusiveness of older persons in Georgia must be a priority - UN expert says

TBILISI (22 March 2018) – An independent expert appointed by the United Nations has called on the Government of Georgia to “make it a top priority to ensure inclusiveness and equality of older persons”.

Georgia is the most aged country in the South Caucasus region, and according to the last census, every fifth person is aged 60 and over. By 2050, the percentage of people over 60 in Georgia will further rise to over 30 percent.

“Population decline paired with an ageing society has significant implications for the enjoyment of human rights by older persons,” Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, said at the end of her first official visit to the country.

“Older persons’ care in general remains an area that needs to be improved. There is no comprehensive strategy on long-term care and despite the introduction of the state-funded Universal Health Programme, older persons remain particularly vulnerable to significant out-of-pocket payments – especially for medication.”

Kornfeld-Matte said there were reports that various forms of violence against and abuse of older persons, including by family members, occurred frequently, and called on the Government to improve detection and prevention.

She said many older persons remained among the persistent poor. “I welcome the Government’s recognition that the current pension is insufficient, but I am concerned that the proposed pension reform misses key elements of solidarity and may not effectively address the risk of old-age poverty, particularly among women,” the expert said.

Kornfeld-Matte welcomed the recent adoption of the National Action Plan for the implementation of the State Policy Concept on Population Ageing in Georgia as a long awaited step towards transforming the main policy directions into concrete actions for older persons.

During her 10-day visit, the expert met with various Government authorities and civil society as well as others working on the rights of older persons and older persons themselves. A comprehensive report on her findings and recommendations will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in September this year.

ENDS

Ms. Rosa Kornfeld-Matte (Chile) was appointed by the Human Rights Council as the first Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons in May 2014. Ms. Kornfeld-Matte served as the National Director of the Chilean National Service of Ageing where she designed and implemented the National Policy of Ageing. She has a long career as an academic and is the founder of the programme for older persons at the Pontificia Unversidad Católica de Chile.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights country page - Georgia

For further information and media requests, please contact:
Mr. Khaled Hassine (before/after the visit + 41 22 917 9367; during the visit + 079 444 4187 / khassine@ohchr.org) or write to olderpersons@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact:
Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org)

This year is the 70th anniversaryof the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Upfor Human Rights: www.standup4humanrights.org.