Geneva, 1 October 2018 – Dr. Hanif Hassan Al Qassim, Chairman of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue, recalled the Islamic teachings against the exclusion and rejection of elders in modern societies.

He referred to Surah 14, Verses 23-24, of the Holy Quran stating that elders must be treated with respect and compassion.  This vision – he noted – is practiced in Arabic societies where elders gain more respect and admiration from other social components the older they get. “Elders are embraced for having contributed to the success and progressive development of Arab societies. Their legacy guides the present generation in their endeavours to promote a more hopeful future,” Dr. Al Qassim said.

The Geneva Centre’s Chairman made this statement on the occasion of the 2018 International Day of Older Persons which is observed annually on 1 October. Dr. Al Qassim appealed to decision-makers and role-models worldwide to likewise promote the respect of elders and pay tribute to their wisdom and contribution to society.

The Geneva Centre’s Chairman appealed more specifically to the international community to promote policies enhancing the social status of elders and promoting their human rights as envisioned in the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Elders must not be excluded from contributing to the economic and social well-being of societies owing to their age and social status. Isolation and social exclusion of elders will not enable the society to harness their wisdom and intellect,” Dr. Al Qassim said.

In conclusion, the Geneva Centre’s Chairman stated that society’s success lies on its “ability to recognise the rights of elders, enable them to have a voice in society and to embrace them as agents of sustainable development. A society that forgets the legacy of its elders, is a society headed towards failure and societal decline.

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