July 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — President Obama today announced his intention to sign the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, marking an evolution in the perception of disability as a human rights issue as opposed to a health or social welfare issue. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 2006, and has become one of the fastest negotiated Human Rights treaties in history.
Of particular interest to advocates of accessible Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), the Convention clearly indicates that accessible technology is a primary component in ensuring the rights of people with disabilities.
“This is a historic occasion that impacts over 650 million persons with disabilities worldwide,” said Debra Ruh, founder of TecAccess, a provider of accessible Information and Communication Technology solutions. “The Convention demonstrates respect for full and effective participation and inclusion of people with disabilities in society.”
The Convention enumerates the human rights of persons with disabilities, which include:
— the right to equality before the law without discrimination;
— the right to live in the community;
— the right to education;
— the right to health;
— the right to work; and
— the right to participate in political, public and cultural life.
To encourage greater access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), the Convention requires State Parties to promote the research and development of universally designed goods and accessible technologies, and to take appropriate measures to ensure persons with disabilities have equal access to information, communications and the internet.
“With two-thirds of all persons with disabilities living in the developing world where usage of Information and Communication Technologies is growing quickly, the Convention is vital to ensuring that while the growth of ICT transforms the world, people with disabilities are fully participating in the process,” said Ruh.