HelpAge International is a global network of organizations promoting the right of all older people to lead dignified, healthy and secure lives. The organization has a strong, value-based position which puts the experience of older women and men at the center of its work. Several member organizations are in Belize for a Sub Regional Network conference. The organizers told Love News that income generation for older persons is one of their main discussion topics including the ratification of the Inter- American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons.
Andrea Dotta, Technical Seretaira, Sub Regional Network: “In the region we are very concerned that people are ageing and we are not ageing well with all the conditions with our human rights and dignity. So in the region we are very concerned about that and we try to organize in a network that’s called the Central American and Caribbean Network for Ageing with Dignity; we are five countries: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, República Dominicana, and Colombia, with Help Age like our support organization. These countries are trying to make a common agenda to work with human rights for elderly people and how we want to age with dignity in these countries.”
Reporter: What is the significance of holding it in Belize. I know we are a country that doesn’t have proper pensions for senior citizens why did you chose Belize ?
Andrea Dotta, Technical Seretaira, Sub Regional Network: “Well the thing is Belize is one country that is in the network and it’s very important to be here because we are trying to make advocacy so that Belize can ratify the Inter American convention. Other countries have already ratified it like Costa Rica and El Salvador but Belize has not so it’s very important for us to be here as a group of countries in the region to support Belize in this path.”
Maria Elena Sylvestre, Patroness, HelpAge: “We are here to talk about where we are, where we should be in relation to the work for fighting for the rights of older persons globally, regionally and here in Belize as well.”
Marce Bustamente, Coordinator, Regional Secretariat, Help Age: “We have a very important partner in Belize called Helpage Belize and the main problem that we are focus on in Belize in terms of of old people is income generation. Almost 30% of old people in the population are living in poverty and they don’t get pensions. The most important message that we have to the government is the ratification of the Inter American convention of old people’s rights.”
The HelpAge Regional conference continues over the next few days.