ICT access for disabled included in UN charter

The convention, under discussion for three years, will soon be put to the nations of the UN for ratification

Access to ICT for disabled people has been installed as one of the clauses in the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, which was adopted last month by the United Nations.

“To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life,” the convention says, “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 … information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services.”

The convention, under discussion for three years, now goes to an editing stage to ensure the language is consistent with other UN conventions. It will then be put to the nations of the UN for ratification.

The government’s Digital Strategy already has provisions concerning the removal of the barriers to access by disabled users to ICT.

The ad hoc committee which drafted the convention was chaired by New Zealand’s ambassador to the UN, Don McKay.

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