File Photo: Egypt s upper consultative house. Al-Ahram
A report prepared by the Senate said the government-drafted law is meant to provide as many as 1.7 million senior citizens in Egypt with all forms of social care, decent life benefits, and help them integrate into society.
According to the report, Article 83 of Egypt's 2014 constitution states that senior citizens have many rights and that the government should do its best to grant them their rights. "The government-drafted law aims to translate the rights enshrined in Article 83 of the constitution into facts on the ground," said the report, adding that "the new National Strategy on Human Rights, declared in Egypt in September, also states that the government in coordination with civil society organizations shall move to provide senior citizens with all forms of social care."
The report added it is significant that the government-drafted law states that senior citizens who do not receive a retirement pension will be entitled to receive monthly financial assistance. "This is a very progressive step on the side of the government in terms of social solidarity objectives," said the report.
To meet these objectives, the new bill states that a senior citizens' care fund will be set up by the Ministry of Social Solidarity. "The fund, which shall be under the direct supervision of the prime minister, will be created to procure all the financial allocations necessary to provide senior citizens with all forms of social care, particularly obtaining a monthly financial assistance," said the report.
The report also explains that the new bill makes it binding for the government to take 22 measures necessary to achieve the rights of senior citizens. "Among these are that the government will help establish social care institutions for senior citizens everywhere in Egypt, provide them with monthly financial assistance, protect them against the risks of epidemics and disasters, get an easy access to government and non-government services, provide them with safe shelters at times of disasters, and help them join sporting clubs for nominal fees," said the report, adding that "the government will also make sure that there is no discrimination among senior citizens upon the grounds of religion or age, and that senior citizens shall enjoy full political rights and freedom of speech."