December 3,2008 was the occasion of The International Day of Persons with Disabilities which was celebrated at UN Headquarters New York. IFSW was represented by Marcia Wallace.
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, heralded as a major Human Rights treaty, was adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2008 and has been signed by 137 countries and ratified by 44 .
Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s statement informed that the first Conference of States Parties was held in November, 2008 and elected the first 12 members (independent experts) to the Committee of Persons with Disabilities, thus formally setting up a mechanism for countries that have ratified the convention to report on their implementation efforts. He also said that in the remodeling of the UN Building accessibility in all aspects for persons with disabilities will be assured.
The day’s events, organized by the Secretariat CRPD and the Global Alliance for ICT and Development, focused on Article 9 of the Convention which has to do with accessibility. This was noted as one of the most far reaching and innovative of the articles in that the definition of accessibility asserts that information communication technologies (ICT’s) are equal with physical environment and transportation. It was pointed out that this has application for all people particularly as they age and therefore permits participation of all of society.
A panel of participants represented a range of interests: The National Council on Disability; The World Bank; Worldwide Web Consortium; IBM -WW Human Ability and Accountability Center; and DAISY Consortium. They presented and discussed opportunities for implementing the technologies. The challenges to actualizing the programs were enumerated: literacy required as point of entry; the rapid increase in information; recognition of the other side of the digital divide( eg older web users); keeping up with new technologies; and cost.
Never-the-less the benefits of mitigating social isolation increasing literacy, education, self confidence ,social standing were identified as hugely significant for all, not only persons with disabilities .
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
IFSW Statement on the International Day of Persons With Disabilities, December 3
IFSW Statement on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities