UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] on Friday urged [statement] the international community to provide better protection of the worldwide elderly population. He pointed out that four to six percent of this vulnerable group is subject to physical, mental or financial abuses and other types of violence such as neglect, abandonment, and serious loss of dignity and respect. The element that makes such abuses more serious is that most of them are neither addressed nor reported. Ban noted that the UN General Assembly [official website] has designated June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day through its resolution 66/127 [text, PDF] in the wake of the increasing frequency of abuses against the older population:
Respect for elders is an integral part of many societies. As people live longer, and as we strive for sustainable and inclusive development, it is time to revive and expand our appreciation for those who have advanced in years. A modern civilization can only live up to that name if it preserves the tradition of honouring, respecting and protecting society's elders.As the population get older, such abuse is likely to create a serious concern in the future for which Ban called countries to take preventive measures.
The General Assembly had adopted several resolutions concerning the older population. In 2002, the Second World Assembly on Aging had adopted the Madrid International Plan of Action on Aging [text, PDF], 11 years after the General Assembly adopted the UN Principles for Older Persons [resolution 46/91, PDF]. In 1990, the Assembly had designated [resolution 45/106, PDF] October 1 as the International Day of Older Persons and acknowledged that the older population is a valuable asset to the society. It called on nations to cooperate with the UN in establishing measures to identify target groups.