Responding to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu approving Nigeria’s ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Rights of Older Persons yesterday, Isa Sanusi, Amnesty International Nigeria’s Country Director, said:
“The ratification of this Protocol marks a vital step forward to protect the human rights of older people in Nigeria.
“The Protocol requires that state parties protect the rights of older people, including by preventing discrimination against them, guaranteeing their access to healthcare, social protection, and support, and ensuring that they are among those prioritized in any humanitarian emergencies.
“Nigeria has now an opportunity to champion this cause further by engaging with other African states to encourage their ratification of the Protocol. By doing so, Nigeria can help in advancing the rights of older people across the continent, ensuring their dignity and human rights are fully respected, protected and fulfilled.
“Amnesty International is also calling on Nigeria to fully support a UN convention on the rights of older persons, ensuring that these essential rights can become a reality for older people around the world.”
By signing the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and on the Rights of Older Persons, Nigeria has become the 13th member-state to affirm its obligations to strengthening the protection of the rights of older people through a binding regional legal instrument.
In a report published in December 2020, ‘My heart is in pain’: Older people’s experience of conflict, displacement, and detention in Northeast Nigeria, Amnesty International documented how older people in the country are disproportionately affected by conflict, and also how displaced older people are consistently overlooked by humanitarian response. Recommendations in this report included the ratification of this Protocol, so that older people are among those prioritized for assistance in situations of crisis.
At present, there is no global treaty on the rights of older people. Existing laws provide inadequate protection and have done little to increase the visibility of human rights violations against older people. Amnesty International is calling for a UN convention specific to older people to safeguard their rights, dignity and security.