Law drafted to pro­tect el­ders from ex­ploita­tion

The Myanmar Times - - News - THU THU AUNG thuthuaung@mm­times.com

PEO­PLE who abuse older cit­i­zens or vi­o­late their rights could go to prison for two years un­der a law now un­der dis­cus­sion in par­lia­ment. The El­ders Draft Law, pro­mul­gated in state-owned me­dia on June 29, aims to pro­mote and pro­tect the rights, health and eco­nomic well-be­ing of older peo­ple.

The draft was is­sued af­ter MPs had viewed a video ap­par­ently show­ing the ex­ploita­tion of older peo­ple who had been sent out to beg in the streets and then hand over the tak­ings to a “pro­tec­tor”. The video was also widely cir­cu­lated on so­cial me­dia.

Pyithu Hlut­taw MP Daw Phyu Phyu Thin, who has been ac­tively in­volved in so­cial work, said, “This is the first such law to be drawn up for older peo­ple in Myan­mar. It is nec­es­sary. Tra­di­tion­ally, we looked af­ter older peo­ple, but th­ese days there is less moral fi­bre. Peo­ple are even send­ing out older peo­ple to beg on their be­half. I look for­ward to de­bat­ing this draft in the next ses­sion of the hlut­taw.”

Yangon Re­gion so­cial wel­fare di­rec­tor U Myo Set Aung in­vited peo­ple to no­tify the au­thor­i­ties of such abuse, say­ing vi­o­la­tors could al­ready be dealt with un­der ex­ist­ing laws. He wel­comed the draft law, say­ing it would shield old per­sons’ rights by set­ting penal­ties for abuse.

The law de­fines “el­ders” as per­sons aged over 60. Those con­victed of vi­o­lat­ing their rights can be fined from K100,000 (US$85) to K1 mil­lion, and sen­tenced to up to two years in prison.

The so­cial wel­fare helpline for peo­ple wish­ing to re­port abuse is 09-453197225.

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