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UN-CRPD Enforces Accessible Websites – Written by Mr. Leo Valdes

This is a repost of the email sent by Sir Leo to our old yahoogroup.

We discussed it last September 13, 2006 meeting but I didn't include it in

the minutes.

re:Approval of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Dear Advocates,

The draft International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was approved late last Friday, August 25, 2006, at the United Nations in New York. The Convention is a result of over four years of discussions among nations and global non-governmental organizations on disability. Director Kate Fermin and Nelia de Jesus were there to represent the Philippines. The next step is for it to be adopted by the General Assembly in September/October 2006, and to be signed into a treaty within the next two years.

This Convention ensures that countries have strong moral commitments to care for their most vulnerable members of society. This is a cause for celebration.

How does it affect us? First, we are already ahead in our programme for accessible public information. And second, accessible ICT will now have better attention. Finally, we have an opportunity to use our Philippine approach to accessibility advocacy as a best practice that can be shared with other countries.

The approved draft convention is still not available from the UN, but here is the initial working version of Article 9 on Accessibility that was modified and approved: (Accessible ICT items are in italics)

Article 9 – Accessibility

1. To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia:

(a) Buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces;

(b) Information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services.

2. States Parties shall also take appropriate measures:

(a) To develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public;

(b) To ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities;

(c) To provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing persons with disabilities;

(d) To provide in buildings and other facilities open to the public signage in Braille and in easy to read and understand forms;

(e) To provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including guides, readers and professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other facilities open to the public;

(f) To promote other appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons with disabilities to ensure their access to information;

(g) To promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communication technologies and systems, including the


(h) To promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies

and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost.

We are proud that the Manila Declaration on Accessible ICT is the major reason for Paragraphs 2(g) and 2(h) above.

Coincidentally, the International Day of Disabled Persons in December 3, 2006 has the theme of e-Accessibility. NCWDP will try to work with the United Nations through our Philippine Embassy in New York to make a presentation on our achievements.

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