University Grants Commission (UGC) former chairman Arun Nigavekar said the rights, needs and demands of senior citizens need to be recognized in all aspects.
Speaking at a daylong workshop for students on the topic 'Human Rights of the Elderly and the Need for Networking', he said nothing less than a revolution is required where not only the legal framework but also the social, economic and cultural infrastructure must be enhanced to protect and promote their human rights.
The workshop, organized by the International Longevity Centre-India (ILC-I), University of Pune (UoP) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), was held on the varsity campus on Saturday 20th March 2010 at PUMBA Auditorium of Pune University campus,Pune,India.
Nigavekar said there is a need to create enabling strategies to galvanise an open, transparent and vibrant society.
The workshop focused on the rights of elderly and how their rights can be espoused through networking.
Technical sessions covering various topics such as legal and social security provisions for the elderly, health and housing, prevention of elder abuse and crimes against the elderly, feminisation of ageing, economic security and pensions and networking of NGOs among other issues were conducted.
Speakers included eminent persons from the organiser institutions as well as top officials from the police force and activists from various NGOs.
ILC-I's executive director Ravindra Surve stressed on the importance of networking towards the empowerment of senior citizens. "Networking alone can promote human rights," he said, adding that the world has become a global village and it is only through networking that we can know and understand the work done by each other.
Gender-based violence advisor at UNFPA Syed Sadiq said various factors like widowhood, gender discrimination, inadequate educational, health and employment opportunities have made elderly women more vulnerable.
Spreading awareness and proper information is the need of the hour, Sadiq said, while expressing the need for a coordinated approach towards elders where helplines should be started and all services should be made available to them under one roof so that they need not run from pillar to post.
UoP's professor and department of law head TSN Sastry emphasised on the importance of human rights of the elderly and said it is through education that awareness can be spread about the issue.
Sailesh Mishra of Silver Inning Foundation talked about ' Networking of NGOs in the field of Ageing and Human Rights’. He emphasized the need of United Forum of organization working for Elderly to fight for rights of Elderly and also to advocate and lobby for the cause of elderly with government and civil society.