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Technology Is Key to Improving Access to Justice for Persons with Disabilities

New global survey shows persons with disabilities face enormous barriers to justice and points to technology as a possible solution.

LONDON (July 23, 2018) —

The Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ict) and the International Disability Alliance (IDA), are launching a new report, Technology & Effective Access to Justice, and calling for greater access to justice for persons with disabilities worldwide.

The report is published on the occasion of the Civil Society Forum organized under the auspices of the Global Disability Summit. The Summit is being co-hosted by the Governments of the United Kingdom and Kenya, and the International Disability Alliance. The report brings into view longstanding access barriers and suggests that digital technology may be one way for justice systems to be more inclusive of people with disabilities.

In April of 2018, G3ict and IDA partnered to survey IDA members and organizations of persons with disabilities (DPOs) around the world, about technology and access to justice. More than 65 respondents representing 34 countries took the survey, including 11 from developed countries and 23 from developing countries.

A large majority of DPOs surveyed - 84% - said persons with disabilities do not have access to the justice system that is equal to that of other citizens. 85% believe persons with disabilities face moderate to extreme barriers to the justice system and that those barriers have a significant impact on them.

More positively, most DPOs surveyed, 88%, believe technology could be used to improve access to justice for persons with disabilities. However, 65% report justice systems today are not leveraging technology to assist persons with disabilities. Nearly all, 97%, reported willingness to use technology to increase access to justice for persons with disabilities.

”More than 175 countries around the world have committed to the equal and effective participation of persons with disabilities at all stages of and within every role within justice systems,” said James Thurston, G3ict’s Vice President for Global Strategy & Development. “Globally, governments are falling far short of securing that human right. At G3ict we think that existing and emerging technologies can help address this failure to ensure access to justice for all.”

“IDA was pleased to partner with G3ict in conducting this survey and get those perspectives from the DPOs”, said Ana Lucia Arellano, Chair of the International Disability Alliance. “We remain concerned that despite the CRPD being enforced for more than a decade, access to justice remains an overwhelming issue for persons with disabilities where they continue to find barriers to participation. We share optimism of our partners that technology can be used to improve access to justice. Yet, we have to be cautious that these technologies will be accessible for all persons with disabilities.”

Article 13 of the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) requires that countries ensure effective access to justice for persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others. While courts and justice systems worldwide are undergoing digital transformations, it is not clear that their technology investments and roadmaps include a commitment to ensuring inclusion and access to justice.

“The CRPD committee is deeply committed to supporting more progress worldwide consistent with Article 13 of the CRPD,” said Theresia Degener, Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. “This new report from IDA and G3ict will be a useful input as we all explore how we can achieve greater access to justice for persons with disabilities.”

Background to the Global Disability Summit
The Civil Society Forum and Global Disability Summit will take place in London on July 23-24 at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The Events will be attended by more than 800 individuals representing Governments, multi-lateral donors, organizations of persons with disabilities, the Private sector, nongovernmental organizations and a range of other stakeholders working on the rights of persons with disabilities. The Forum, taking place on 23 July, will be an addition to the Summit, to leverage the opportunity to amplify the voice and participation of persons with disabilities, through their individual participation and that of representative organizations (DPOs).

The Global Disability Summit, taking place on 24 July, will aim to identify major commitments around four priority themes related to persons with disabilities: dignity and respect for all, inclusive education, economic empowerment and technology & innovation, with gender and humanitarian as cross-cutting issues. At both events, leaders from IDA and G3ict will work to ensure that access to justice and technology are a topic of discussion and that related event commitments include a focus on access to justice and Article 13 of the CRPD.

About G3ict
G3ict – the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies – is an advocacy initiative launched in December 2006 by the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development, in cooperation with the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at UN DESA. Its mission is to facilitate and support the implementation of the dispositions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) promoting digital accessibility and Assistive Technologies.

About IDA
The International Disability Alliance (IDA) is an alliance of eight global and six regional organizations of persons with disabilities. IDA are invested in ensuring that the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals are inclusive and in line with CRPD. IDA support organizations of persons with disabilities worldwide to take part in UN and international human rights processes and use international accountability mechanisms.

With member organizations globally, IDA represents the estimated one billion people worldwide with disabilities. This is the world's largest and most frequently overlooked marginalized group.


Udita Singh, G3ict,, 206-437-8740
Talin Avades, IDA,, 44-7834-369806