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Older Women’s - CEDAW adopts Recommendation

Adoption of CEDAW General Recommendation No. 27 on Older Women and Protection of Their Human Rights

19th 0ctober, 2010

Distinguished members of the Press and Media representatives, colleagues and friends,

On behalf of the Working Group , I am Ferdous Ara Begum as Chair of the Working Group of the” General Recommendation on the Protection of the human rights of Older Women” have the pleasure to announce that the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women has adopted the General Recommendation yesterday on the 19th October , 2010 in Geneva at its 47th Session in pursuant to article 21 of the Convention.

This is the General Recommendation Number 27.
The Committee is concerned about the multiple forms of discrimination experienced by older women on the grounds of age and sex which is often a result of unfair resource allocation, maltreatment, neglect and limited access to basic services.

But older women ’s rights are not systematically addressed in States parties’ reports or NGOs’ reports.

The Committee recognized the need for statistical data disaggregated by age and sex as a way to better assess the situation of older women.

The Committee also recognized that older women are not a homogeneous group They have a great diversity of experience, knowledge, ability and skills. Their economic and social situation, however, is dependent on a range of demographic, political, environmental, cultural, employment, individual and family factors. The contributions of older women to society in public and private life as leaders in their communities, as entrepreneurs, caregivers, advisers, mediators among other roles are invaluable.

The gendered nature of ageing reveals that women tend to live longer than men and that more older women than men live alone The committee recognized that the changes in the population structure due to the unprecedented demographic ageing along with the impact of gender inequalities throughout the life span of older women have profound human rights implications and need to be addressed in a more comprehensive and systematic manner through the CEDAW Convention.

This general recommendation on older women and the recognition of their rights, explores the relationship between all the articles of the Convention and ageing.

It identifies the multiple forms of discrimination that women face as they age; outlines the content of the obligations assumed by States as parties to the Convention, from the perspectives of ageing with dignity and older women’s rights; and, includes policy recommendations to mainstream the responses to the concerns of older women into national strategies, development initiatives and positive action so that older women can participate fully without discrimination and on the basis of equality with men in the political , social, economic, cultural, civil and any other field in their society.

The general recommendation also provides guidance to States parties on the inclusion of older women’s rights in the reporting process on the Convention. The general recommendation will be the most comprehensive interpretation of human rights and States parties’ obligations as they apply in the context of ageing. Elimination of all forms of discrimination against older women can only be achieved by fully respecting and protecting their dignity, right to integrity and self-determination.

The Committee has deep appreciation for strong NGOs’ and UN Agencies support and contribution for this General Recommendation on older women.

Adoption of this General recommendation for the protection of the human rights of older women by the Committee in 2010 is a timely action which goes in line with the creation of UN WOMEN, the 15th year review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and platform for Action, the 10th review of the Millennium development goals and 10th year anniversary of the Security council resolution 1325 The adoption of the General recommendation on the rights of older women also strengthen the UN SECRETARY GENERAL’s call to recognize the human rights of older women and men in the July , 2010 report to the 65th General Assembly.

In this opportunity I would like to thank the press and media representatives who are present here. Also I would like to thank the CEDAW Committee members for their great contribution and commitment for causes of older women . I would also like to thank the members of the Secretariat for their support and help I would also like to thank the Working Group members for their relentless work ,contribution and commitments for the protection of human rights of older women .

Our working group consists of 7 members. Beside myself as chair, other members are Ms. Violeta neubour, Ms. Barbara Baily, Ms. Neala GR, Ms. Saisuri Chuticul Mr. Niklus Brunn and Ms Yoko Hayashi.

Thank you.

Ferdous Ara Begum
Chair of the Working Group of the” General Recommendation on the Protection of the
Human Rights of Older Women”

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