“The accessibility provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) covering Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are progressively translated into laws and regulations by ratifying countries,” according to the CRPD 2010 Progress Report released today by G3ict, the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies in cooperation with Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI). However, while countries commitments are encouraging, significant gaps remain in their capacity to implement policies and programs and actual outcomes for persons with disabilities remain limited in terms of accessibility of mainstream ICTs such as computers, mobile phones, television, electronic kiosks, websites and other digital interfaces used in everyday life around the world.
In order to assess the degree of compliance with the CRPD’s requirements on digital accessibility, G3ict conducted an independent survey among 32 ratifying countries worldwide and the United States as a benchmark country. The survey was designed after the structure of the ICT Accessibility Self-Assessment Framework developed by G3ict to help States Parties evaluate their degree of compliance with the CRPD. The survey collected three sets of data per country measuring: 1/ the country legal and programmatic commitments, 2/ its capacity to implement those and 3/ the actual accessibility of various ICTs products and services for persons with disabilities in the country. Two sets of questionnaires, in four different languages, were submitted to both accessibility and legal experts among ratifying countries, through the DPI network of National Assemblies.
The study presents the progress made by those 33 countries for ICT accessibility on a global basis in relation to the dispositions of the CRPD. Data have been analyzed through cross-tabulations to draw links between the level of implementation and compliance of ratifying countries with their geographical, human development and economic development status.
The CRPD 2010 Progress Report also provides an analysis and discussion of the results with recommendations and suggestions for actions by all stakeholders involved in the CRPD implementation process. By drawing links between States’ commitments, capacity to implement and outcome for persons with disabilities and comparing data including from other international statistical sources, policy makers and international institutions will derive useful findings, benchmarks and recommendations from the CRPD Progress Report. Results may be used by ratifying countries to improve their compliance with the CRPD and by international organizations to foster international cooperation and monitor existing needs for accessible ICTs and assistive technology programs. NGOs and Disabled Persons Organizations can also use the data to identify gaps in CRPD compliance to lobby governments and local stakeholders, raise the awareness of the potential benefits of ICT accessibility and assistive technologies for persons with disabilities in comparison to other countries, and facilitate the sharing of lessons learned, good practices, tools and products.
The G3ict CRPD 2010 Progress Report is available at www.g3ict.org in PDF format and accessible Text version. DAISY format, as well as Braille files, are forthcoming.
About the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
Adopted on 13 December 2006 by the United Nations General Assembly, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities defines for the first time, in the context of a comprehensive international legal instrument, the rights of all “persons with disabilities who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others” (Article 1). An estimated 650 million people meet this definition, two thirds of whom live in developing countries.
The Convention includes the first universal legal and policy framework promoting the accessibility of ICTs and Assistive Technologies (AT). Defining accessibility as a condition for persons with disabilities to “fully enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms” it elevates the accessibility to information and communication technologies on par with the accessibility of the built environment and to transportation. It includes the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas concerning human, civil, social, political, and economic issues in an equitable way. As of May 2011, 147 countries have signed the CPRD and 100 have ratified it.
G3ict – the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies – is an Advocacy Initiative of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development. Its mission is to promote and support the implementation of the dispositions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities covering digital accessibility and assistive technologies. Participating organizations include industry, United Nations agencies, the public sector and organizations representing persons with disabilities. G3ict relies on an international network of ICT accessibility experts to develop practical tools, evaluation methods and benchmarks for State Parties, Disabled Persons Organizations and corporations to develop programs in support of assistive technologies and e-accessibility. Since inception G3ict has organized or contributed to over 80 awareness raising and capacity building programs for policy makers in cooperation with international organizations such as the ITU, UNESCO, UNITAR and the World Bank on all continents. G3ict co-produces with ITU the e-Accessibility Policy Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities (http://www.e-accessiblitytoolkit.org) which is widely used around the world by policy makers involved in the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. G3ict is funded by contributions from corporations, disabled persons organizations and foundations. Its programs are hosted by international organizations, governments, universities and foundations around the world.
Disabled Peoples' International (DPI) is a dynamic grassroots global organization headquartered in Canada, with five Regional Development Offices in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America and Caribbean, operating in three official languages: English, French and Spanish. Established in 1981 and granted ECOSOC (United Nations Economic and Social Council) status shortly thereafter, DPI has 134 National Assemblies (country organizations) of persons with disabilities worldwide.
Since its inception, DPI has collaborated with the United Nations (UN), civil society, governments and disability-related organizations to produce and disseminate information on disability worldwide. DPI supports persons with disabilities around the world in their efforts to realize their human rights. It does this by promoting the full participation of persons with disabilities in all aspect of their community and by encouraging the equalization of opportunities and thereby, outcomes for persons with disabilities. (http://www.dpi.org)
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