The World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is marked annually on 15 June, globally, an event to create awareness on the rights of the older persons.

As such the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission reiterates that older persons in our society are equal in dignity and rights and deserve to live a life free of abuse.

Older persons are more vulnerable and at a greater risk of facing violence, neglect, socio-economic challenges, discrimination, inhumane treatment and isolation more than ever in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lockdowns, physical distancing and limitations to our rights and freedoms during these extra-ordinary times should not be used as an excuse to neglect and ill-treat older persons in our communities. They must have access to health services, water, sanitation facilities and humanitarian support.

Older persons must enjoy social and economic rights, the right to remain integrated in society and to participate in national development, right to access social and legal services and the right to be able to exercise human rights and fundamental freedoms when residing in their own home, care facility or shelter including the right to privacy and the right to make decisions about the quality of their life. The elderly must be treated fairly regardless of their age and other prohibited grounds of discrimination prescribed under section 26 of the Fijian Constitution.

Older persons must be protected against verbal, mental, psychological, physical and sexual abuse.

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