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Rhino Camp refugee decries living condition of elderly people

By Khamis Cosmas Lokudu

A 65-year-old refugee from Rhino Camp expressed frustration over the unfavourable living condition of the elderly people in the camp.

Speaking on phone the camp, Taban Guya said old aged people are being deprived of their rights to shelter, medical care, and good living conditions.

Guya urged international organizations to help the government of South Sudan to strategize on helping the elderly people within and outside the country to enjoy full basic human rights.

Human Rights Defender Bidal James said the Government of South Sudan will be accountable if they fail to ensure support for the old age people. He suggested that some provisions on how to help the aged persons should have been included in the 2018 Revitalized Agreement.

“Human rights are the most fundamental rights of human beings and they define the relationship between individuals and power structure, protecting the rights of older people is one of the duties and responsibilities of the parties to the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS)”, Bidal said.

He further reiterated that the rights of elderly people are being violated by unfriendly factors like displacements and poor sanitation.

Bidal urged the Transitional Government of National Unity to observe the basic human rights principle of non-discrimination, which is explicitly set out in the international and regional human rights treaties and central to human rights.

The human rights defender appealed to humanitarian service providers and political leaders to support research on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), especially the old aged people and human rights-related issues.

Civil Society activists Zainab Osman who works for Community empowerment for Progress organization (CEPO) defined elderly person as anybody who can no longer take care of him / herself due to old age and called upon the government of South Sudan to take care and respect the rights of old people.

Osman said because of the support made by old people, their rights should be recognized and if possible the government needs to build shelters for people who are unable to help themselves.

“Now you stand as young person but in the near future age can catch up with you and automatically you qualify to be an elder. So, it’s high time for the authorities to exercise maximum respect for the rights of South Sudanese elders” she lamented.

Osman is requested the government to have package for old people as their commitment and the work they did for the independence of South Sudan. Some elders according to her, have made it to life and others did not.

“Therefore, the government should take care of those who cannot afford. Elders should be taken care of from 75 years”, she stressed.  

In exclusive interview Dr. Ghada James said the rights of old people of South Sudan ought to be respected across the country given their contribution for this country. She explained, every society in South Sudan needs to respect and recognize the old people’s rights. 

Article 18 of the African (Banjul) Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights recognizes the rights of the elderly persons, even so, the Transitional Constitution of South Sudan, 2011 (amended) article 30 Section (2) says the Elderly and persons with disabilities or special needs shall have the rights to respect of their dignity. They shall be provided with the necessary care and medical services as shall be regulated by the law.

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