Friday, June 29, 2012

The 2012 European Year for Active Ageing

2012 - European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations

The year is intended to raise awareness of the contribution that older people make to society. It seeks to encourage policymakers and relevant stakeholders at all levels to take action with the aim of creating better opportunities for active ageing and strengthening solidarity between generations.

What is active ageing?

Active ageing means growing old in good health and as a full member of society, feeling more fulfilled in our jobs, more independent in our daily lives and more involved as citizens. No matter how old we are, we can still play our part in society and enjoy a better quality of life. The challenge is to make the most of the enormous potential that we harbour even at a more advanced age. The European Year 2012 seeks to promote active ageing in three areas:
Employment – as life expectancy increases across Europe, pension ages are rising, but many fear that they will not be able to stay in their current jobs or to find another job until they can retire on a decent pension. We must give older workers better chances in the labour market.
Participation in society – retiring from one's job does not mean becoming idle. The contribution of older people to society as carers for others, typically their own parents or spouses and their grandchildren is often overlooked and so is their role as volunteers. The European Year seeks to ensure greater recognition of what older people bring to society and create more supportive conditions for them.
Independent living – our health declines as we grow old, but a lot can be done to cope with this decline. And quite small changes in our environment can make a big difference to people suffering from various health impairments and disabilities. Active ageing also means empowering us as we age so that we can remain in charge of our own lives as long as possible.

EU funding

How to promote active ageing in Europe - EU support to local and regional actors

Facts and figures

Eurobarometer Special Survey on Active ageing
Eurostat - A statistical portrait of the EU 2012: Active ageing and solidarity between generations

Success to the MDAC Mental Disability Advocacy Center regarding Guardianship

Russian Constitutional Court criticises "abusive" guardianship law
 St. Petersburg (Russia) and Budapest (Hungary), 28 June 2012. In a case initiated by MDAC, the Russian Constitutional Court yesterday quashed as unconstitutional the lack of alternatives to plenary guardianship. An estimated 300,000 people are currently under guardianship, all stripped of their personhood and of their legal rights. The Court ordered the parliament to enact a new law which better respects people's decision-making capacity.
  Since 1982, Irina Delova has lived in "Social Care Institution No. 3" in St. Petersburg. With almost 1,100 it is one of the largest institutions in Russia. Until 2010 she had managed her own money, but the institution wanted to control it. They applied to a district court which deprived Ms Delova of her legal capacity. The institution became her guardian and she was not allowed to access her own money. At the district court hearing, psychiatrists testified that Ms Delova was able to manage her money for every-day purposes, but she needed some support for more complex transactions.
 "The Constitutional Court has taken an important step in recognising the obvious: that the law should provide alternatives to Irina Delova, as it should to everyone else: stripping personhood and dignity should never be lawful," said Oliver Lewis, MDAC Executive Director. "We call on the Federal Government and members of the Duma to abolish plenary guardianship altogether, and introduce supported decision-making, in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities."
 Full deprivation of legal capacity is the only measure available in Russian law to enable people with disabilities to make decisions. MDAC has been campaigning for reform of the law since launching a report on guardianship and human rights in Russia in 2007. In 2010 the European Court of Human Rights started to chip away at the system in the case of Shtukaturov v. Russia. In a separate case brought on Mr. Shtukaturov's behalf, the Constitutional Court struck down numerous procedural aspects of Russian guardianship law which were implemented through legislative amendments in 2011. However, until now, the substantive guardianship law had not been judicially criticised.
 Ms Delova was represented by Dmitri Bartenev, an attorney practicing in St. Petersburg who is MDAC's contracted Russian attorney. The case was supported by MDAC as well as the St. Petersburg NGO "Perspektivy" and the Independent Psychiatric Association of Russia.
 Commenting on the decision, Dmitri Bartenev said, "This is a historic moment for Russia in combatting the social exclusion of hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities. Depriving someone of their legal capacity is routinely used by family members and local government to then to lock people up in an institution for the rest of their lives."
 MDAC will make the full text of the decision in Russian available on its website as soon as it is available and will post an English translation shortly. MDAC's litigation in Russia has been supported financially by the Open Society Foundations. MDAC is the only international NGO that challenges these violations, which would otherwise remain hidden. We need your help to continue taking cases such as Ms Delova's to court, creating a legal deterrent to prevent future abuses of this kind. The change MDAC creates is long-lasting and will ultimately improve the lives of many future generations of people. Your support is needed because, in all cases, the clients who we help have no funds, and legal aid is not available to pay lawyers. To donate, please click here.
Mental Disability Advocacy Center
Hercegprímás u. 11, H-1051 Budapest, Hungary
phone: +36 1 413 2730 | fax: +36 1 413 2739 | email:  

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The San Jose Charter on the Rights of Older Persons

The final outcome of the III Intergovernmental Conference on Ageing in Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)] that was held on May 2012 in San Jose, has produced an important international document on the rights of older persons.
The document, known as the
is yet another important step by the Latin America countries to be the leaders in promoting and advancing the rights of older persons via regional human rights instruments.
Here is the link to the full document: