Seniors want discussion on Tres Rios declaration

POSTED: 05/29/12 1:07 PM

GREAT BAY- The St.Maarten Senior Citizens and Pensioners Association (SMSPA) seeks an audience with the government to discuss the Tres Rios declaration and its significance to the elderly, in particular. The non-governmental organization is hoping to educate and inform the power brokers about what it claims are human rights infringements. Through its executive member Raymond Jessurun, the association participated in a civil society meeting in Costa Rica in early May on aging, the outcome of which produced the Tres Rios Declaration to be presented to the United Nations Committee on Social Development next February in New York.
Seniors have to demand from government a basic income or pension that is equivalent to the minimum wage, Jessurun told a group of social activists on Wednesday night.
“The argument is that we have a right to a decent standard of living and what is decent? Under the poverty line cannot be decent, the minimum wage is the baseline.”
It was all summed up in a presentation Jessurun called Priority Actions Civil Society 2012-2017 drawn from the Tres Rios Declaration. It states that to ensure the right to social security and pension, there needs to be the promotion of the mobilization of older persons in joint action with younger generations, for the right to development, equal rights and eradication of poverty.
Apart from demanding a proper pension, the Tres Rios Declaration also urges civil society to create a national platform that actively involves stakeholders from the social security sector. They also ought to exercise control mechanisms to see that the commitments made by governments in international treaties are adhered to.
“This government of St. Maarten has adopted the Millennium Development Goals for the Caribbean to be implemented in St. Maarten. We have to dig into this and see if really the seniors are being helped; the younger generation is being helped. All the target groups that we see in our society, we ought to evaluate to see if targets are being met as St. Maarten continues to sign more international agreements.”
The over 300 delegates drawn from the Caribbean and Latin America that attended the conference have all committed to the observance of several international days recognizing the rights of the elderly. These include June 15-World Awareness Day Against Elderly Abuse; July 25-International Day of Retirees and Pensioners; October 1-International Day of Older Persons; October 17-International Day of the Eradication of Poverty and December 10-Human Rights Day.
SMSPA says that in collaboration with other social organizations, it will make the first commemoration against elderly abuse on June 15 significant and memorable.

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