NGO Statement and Panel discussion on technical cooperation in the promotion and protection of human rights

I felt the weight of Human Rights NGOs and activists on my shoulders as a privilege when delivering the joint NGO statement at the 41st Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) to the delegates precisely on behalf of GAROP, HelpAge International and DIS-MOI.

That was an opportunity to underscore what the Report of the Office of the High Commissioner reflects with regards to the unfortunate reality of how most activities undertaken fail to address the human rights of older persons. For example, a host of issues including age discrimination, abuse, ensuring dignity autonomy and independence, deprivation of liberty and access to justice are not addressed.

If the Inter-American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons in the Americas has created conditions for technical cooperation and capacity building it stands to reason that an international legally binding instrument would provide the same dynamism in terms of technical cooperation and capacity building.

The second part of my participation was the panel discussion with the participation of eminent opinion leaders and practitioners of human rights. My task was to expose the strategy of DIS-MOI (Mauritius) in our campaign to make all stakeholders have a shared understanding of the ageing concept, the problematic of ageing society, the challenges and opportunities we in Mauritius face. I explained our multi-pronged approach meeting people at the grass-root level, human rights organisations and institutions and importantly the authorities, namely the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights not forgetting our media campaign.

The annual thematic discussion is a platform that allows sharing of experience from different corners of the world from which we can learn and adapt to our own context. I realized that the ‘international dimension’ of what we are undertaking is essential to ensure that the road to a new UN Convention is being paved to take every Member State on board. And that NGOs have a crucial role to play.

I felt the UN HRC is a house of wisdom where I cannot imagine any human disrespectful of human rights.

So I came back more resolute in the vision and mission if DIS-MOI: that we participate in the construction of a world where human rights of older people are safeguarded and cherished.

Vijay Naraidoo

of DIS-MOI. Mauritius