The protection of the human rights of the oldest citizens in Serbia has been at the top of the work agenda of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality for years, given that the demographic picture, both in Serbia and throughout Europe, is worrying, said the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, Brankica Janković, who is participating with her deputy at the UN Conference on the Human Rights of Older Persons, organized by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.
Janković pointed out that the Commissioner is the first institution in Southeast Europe that put the topic of improving the human rights of the elderly on the political agenda at the regional conference on the rights of the elderly, within the European network of all institutions for equality, as well as on other international platforms, given that the Republic of Serbia has the potential to provide a great contribution from the aspect of practice in understanding problems and offer solutions, and even to take a leadership position.
The intense change in the demographic structure is a reality that requires a series of changes in the way the health and social care system functions, as well as the pension system, said the Commissioner, stating that, in addition to other activities aimed at finding solutions, the Commissioner prepared a Special Report on discrimination against the elderly last year. After the presentation of that report to the National Assembly, which adopted all the recommendations, action ensued at the local level in order to find the best ways to improve the equality of the elderly.
The Commissioner pointed out that it is extremely important to build a society that perceives the elderly as equal citizens, included in all segments of life, as a valuable reservoir of knowledge and experience, and that if everyone acts in accordance with their capabilities, the potential of the heritage of our cultural identity and tradition, which respects the oldest fellow citizens, can be used. She pointed out that we should keep in mind that ageism could become a dominant form of discrimination in the 21st century, and it is up to us not to allow it.
The conference is being held at the initiative of the Council for Human Rights, which requested that normative standards and obligations related to the promotion and protection of the human rights of the elderly be discussed at the highest level. The meeting was opened by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.