By Mercedes Alonso
Santo Domingo, July (SEMlac). - A report of the Human Rights Unit at the Prosecutor's Office indicates that there were 69 cases of abuse against older people in the country between January and June 2017.
Ana V. Peralta (60) was raped; Evangelista Méndez (71) was raped and killed; Enriquillo Encarnación (90) and José B. Peralta (69) endured aggravated assault; Patricia Ramírez (74) is still in critical condition after attempted rape; María Pérez (70) and Juana Argot (59) were raped in their own houses; María Rosa (68) was murdered; and Isabel M. Llaverías (90) was raped and strangled.
Reporter Wanda Méndez had an article published by Listín Daily last July 3, urging to reflect on these and many other cases whose perpetrators have had detention orders issued against them.
Danissa Cruz, an attorney specializing in older people affairs and heading the Human Rights Unit at the Prosecutor's Office, told SEMlac that the National Council for Senior Citizens provides constant follow up to cases.
No public policies
Cruz indicated that family desertion is the main cause of vulnerability for older people in the country.
"Awareness-raising campaigns should be conducted under better protection policies for this population group," she stressed.
There are around one million people over 60 in the Dominican Republic today. By 2025, one every five will be an older person, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Estimates show that there are 700 million people over 60 in the world today and that they will total two billion by 2050 (over 20 per cent of the global population).
In the Dominican Republic, around 80 per cent of those over 60 live in urban areas and are marginalized and/or underprivileged, according to a study disseminated over the Internet by Dr. Rosy Pereyra, executive director of the Institute for Grandparents at the International Longevity Center.
Ten per cent of older people live on their own, and life expectancy stands at 72 for women and 68 for men.
It is indispensable to promote inclusive policies
El Día newspaper published on October 2, 2015 an official declaration by UNFPA Executive Director Babatunde Osotimehin.
He asked: what can we do to make our cities more inclusive? And he answered: we can ensure that both young and old people are integrated into urban planning and that all their needs are duly taken into account.
"The inclusiveness of older people in urban areas is very much in line with the newly adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Nobody should be left behind," he stressed.
This is just a dream in the Dominican Republic, a country that exhibits the highest economic growth rate in the entire region.
Osotimehin urged political leaders and city planners to pay special attention to older people when developing housing, transportation and other basic social projects.