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COVID-19 and the Rights of Older People in Developing Countries, December 2020

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The COVID-19 pandemic and in fact all crises – acute or prolonged – remind us that human rights need to be central in all recovery and development efforts. The Sustainable Development Goals will only be achieved if we are able to create equal opportunities for all, address failures exposed and exploited by COVID-19, and apply human rights standards to tackle entrenched, systematic, and intergenerational inequalities, exclusion and discrimination.

Dorcas affirms that there is a place for everyone in this world we want and that this includes the growing number of older people worldwide. Everyone, young or old, counts and older people have the same rights to life and health as everyone else. No older person should be invisible, neglected or considered powerless. Many older people are fully engaged in work, in family life, in teaching and learning, and in looking after others. Their voices and leadership count. As do their needs and vulnerabilities. In this report we summarize data and evidence from recent studies and report on the rights of older people in times of COVID-19 in low- and middle-income countries.

We also share examples from Dorcas’ practice and formulate recommendations based on good practices of other organisations as well as our own. With this report, we aim to inform and inspire policy makers and humanitarian and development practitioners on inclusion of the rights of Older People in the current COVID-19 crisis, as well as others yet to come.

Rapid needs assessments and initial research done by different organisations in several countries where Dorcas is active give an indication of the impact of COVID-19 on older people related to health, food and income, protection and psychosocial health and WASH.