The Member of Parliament for Madina, Francis-Xavier Sosu has urged Parliament to ratify the Protocol on Rights of Older Persons in Ghana.
The Madina MP noted in a statement released by his office “According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there were 1 billion people in the world aged 60 years and older as at 2020.
By 2030, this figure is expected to reach 1.4 billion people with 1 in 6 persons aged 60 years and older.
Also, by 2050, older persons aged 60 years and above are expected to reach 2.1 billion people, with 80% of older people living in low- and middle-income countries.
For us in Africa, despite having the fewest older people of any region in the world, with adult population aged 60 years and above constituting 74.4 million and representing 5.6% as at 2020, it is expected that the population of older persons will triple to 235.1 million by 2050, representing an increase of 216%, far outstripping growth of older populations in other regions.
The effect of this is that in 30 years, the number of African countries with more than a million older adults is projected to rise to 36, and seven of them will each have at least 10 million older adults.
For Ghana, adult population aged 65 years and above constitute 4.4% of the population according to the recent 2021 Population and Housing Census, but this also is also projected to rise to about 12% by 2050.
Over the years, older persons in Ghana and across Africa have been confronted by treatments and (ageist) attitudes that have resulted in discrimination, exclusion and constraints on their legal capacity, autonomy and independence, among others – conditions that have affected their Rights to life, dignity, and violated various international treaties such as the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and International Convention against Torture, Cruel and Other Inhuman and Degrading Treatment.
“As you may be aware, I am a firm believer in the Rights of Persons, especially the vulnerable in Ghana. Indeed, it is this belief that has led to my introduction of ten (10) Private Member’s Bills in Ghana’s Parliament, including a Bill to amend the Criminal and Other Offences Act 1960 (Act 29) to prohibit the practice by any person as a witch doctor or a witch finder; to proscribe the declaration, accusation, naming or labelling of another person as a witch; and for related matters – a phenomenon or practice mostly prevalent in Northern Ghana.”
“It is in light of the above that I urge the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana to ratify the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights Protocol on the Rights of Older Persons to safeguard the Rights of vulnerable persons and ensure the realisation of a free, open, progressive, inclusive and secure society in our lifetime.”
Adopted in January 2016, the Protocol on the Rights of Older Persons is the product of many years of consultations and brought to the fore commitments made by African States in the 2002 African Union Policy Framework and Plan of Action on Ageing.
The Protocol will help hold governments to account for their actions towards the protection of the rights of older persons and create a continental minimum standard of protection for older persons for all member states.