Ageing in a crisis zone: Venezuela’s older people | Envejecer en una zona de crisis: las personas mayores de Venezuela

Ageing in a crisis zone: Venezuela’s older people | Envejecer en una zona de crisis: las personas mayores de Venezuela Ageing in a crisis zone: Venezuela’s older people  | Envejecer en una zona de crisis: las personas mayores de Venezuela

January 30, 20191 min read
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Amidst headlines of the political controversies and economic crisis in Venezuela in recent years, it is difficult to ignore the images of people of all ages struggling and some even fleeing the country for a better life.



According to the World Bank, the national life expectancy is 74 years.  This can be at least partially attributed to years of investment in public health, education, and other social programs.  However, the gains in life expectancy are likely to be reversed due to the current situation in Venezuela, which has led to financial vulnerabilities and insecurity, as well as overburdened and underfunded health care facilities and other essential services.  Other tools for survival – basic household items and food – have become scarce or too expensive for a large segment of the population.


Older persons are often one of the most affected population groups in crisis situations.   Whether living in a conflict zone, or in the aftermath of a natural or man-made disaster, older persons are disproportionately impacted through the subsequent reduced access to health and care services, high risks of family separation and increased rates of distress and abuse.  It is critical to ensure that human rights and the unique and diverse needs of older persons are protected is times of crisis.


To learn more about the role of law in protecting the health and risks of this at-risk population, contact international and human rights law expert Professor Andrew Byrnes through the IFA Expert Centre.


Image by Wil Riera via NPR



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  • Prof. Andrew Byrnes
    Prof. Andrew Byrnes Professor of International Law and Human Rights

    Andrew Byrnes joined the UNSW Law Faculty as Professor of International Law in May 2005

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