FORUM: Disability Rights Treaty and ICT Standards

Posted on 15 April 2008. Filed under: Announcements, Events and Conferences, Human Rights, Opportunities, technology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies
An Advocacy Initiative of the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development

In conjunction with the



Joint ITU and G3ict Forum 2008
The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Challenges and Opportunities for ICT Standards

Monday, April 21, 2008
ITU Headquarters, Geneva

Please find a detailed agenda for the Forum on the subsequent pages of this invitation.

For further information, please contact:
Francesca Cesa Bianchi, Director of External Relations, G3ict
By Phone: +1 404-446-4160 By E-mail:

Advanced registration kindly requested

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is one of the fastest human rights treaties ever adopted. It was developed with the active participation of country delegations and NGOs representing persons with disabilities, and includes a number of detailed mandates related to accessible and assistive Information and Communication and Information Technologies (ICTs).

Today, ICT devices such as personal computers, fixed and mobile telephones and television are widespread, with over one billion people, globally, having access to the Internet. An increasing number of applications and services for e-commerce, e-government, transportation, public services, health services, cultural life and leisure are delivered electronically. However many of these services are developed without consideration of the needs of the 10 per cent of the world population with disabilities. This directly impacts the rights of these persons. The Forum will explore the likely impact of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the evolution of ICT standards with the active participation of industry, Standards Development Organizations (SDOs), NGOs, and other interested parties. It is addressed to leaders overseeing accessibility standards issues, representatives from the industry, SDOs, NGOs representing persons with disabilities, research institutions, assistive technology developers, governments and academia.

* Review existing and in-progress technology standards and standardization of product development methodologies.
* Discuss the role of public policy and procurement in support of standardization and the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
* Identify follow-up actions to facilitate the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Expected Outcome of Meeting
Review and document the areas of standardization which match the mandates of the Convention and explore critical gaps. Receive feedback and suggestions from industry, policymakers and NGOs to explore how they can best support the work of SDOs in fostering greater accessibility of ICTs.

Information and Documentation
Registration for this event will be carried out exclusively online at the following URL:

ITU-T Web site for the event:

G3ict Web site:

ITU Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland (Rue de VarembÈ 2)


8:30 ñ 9:00 Registration
9:00 ñ 10:00 Opening Session

Session Chair: Pierre-AndrÈ Probst, Chairman ITU-T Study Group 16

* Welcome address, Malcolm Johnson, Director, ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector
* Remarks, Yury Grin, Deputy to the Director, Telecommunication Development Sector (BDT)
* Importance of accessible ICTs to developing countries, ITU Standardization Development Sector (TBC)
* Greetings from G3ict supporting organizations
* The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the context of global market demographics, Axel Leblois, Executive Director, G3ict
* Latest developments in harmonization and standardization of accessible and assistive ICTs and the SWG-A standards inventory, JosÈe Auber and Alex Li, ISO/IEC SWG-A

10:00 ñ 11:00 Session 1 – Human interfaces: design for accessible ICTs.
Recent evolution of accessibility features and standards, standards supporting assistive technologies, gaps, and opportunities.

Session Chair: Whitney Quesenbery, President, Usability Professionalsí Association
* ISO work on Ergonomics for accessible ICTs, Tom Stewart, Chairman, TC 159/ SC†4, “Ergonomics of human-system interaction”

* Pluggable user interfaces and virtual AT and RTF initiative: a new approach to user interface, Gregg Vanderheiden, Ph.D., Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Chair, INCITS/V2 and Vice-chair, ISO/IEC, JTC 1/SC35
* ETSI Human Factor activities in the European context, Stephen Furner, Chairman, ETSI Technical Committee Human Factors
* Designing for universal accessibility, Bill Curtis-Davidson, Business Development and Solutions Leader, IBM Worldwide Human Ability and Accessibility Center

11:00 ñ 11:15 Coffee break

11:15 ñ 12:30 Session 2 – Accessible contents and services: addressing information deprivation
W3C initiatives, globalization of web standardization efforts, issues in ensuring compliance with accessibility standards (lack of awareness, speed of technology development, lack of training of web developers etc.); digital television and digital radio opportunities.

Session Chair: Eric Velleman, Director, BartimÈus Accessibility Foundation

* An analysis of the effects of content deprivation, Martin Gould, Director of Research and Technology, National Council on Disability
* DAISY Consortium, Hiroshi Kawamura, President, DAISY Consortium
* Web Accessibility Initiative, WAI/W3C, Judy Brewer, Director, Web Accessibility Initiative, World Wide Web Consortium (WAI/W3C) (via Web cast from Beijing, P.R. China)
* IPTV standardization, features and gaps, Clive Miller, Technical Broadcasting and Engineering Consultant, RNIB

12:30 ñ 14:00 Lunch break and knowledge fair

14:00 ñ 15:00 Session 3 – Mobility: Wireless Devices and Phones, accessibility and assistive functionalities.

Session Chair: Jim Tobias, President, Inclusive Technologies

* A mobile operatorís perspective in Japan, Yoshinobu Nakamura, NTT DoCoMo
* Windows Mobile, Sean Hayes, Incubation Lab Accessibility Business Unit, Microsoft
* Open source opportunities for accessibility and assistive functionalities – Android, Clayton Lewis, Ph..D., Professor of Computer Science, Scientist in Residence, Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, University of Colorado
* Perspectives from hand-sets manufacturer (TBC)

15:00 ñ 16:00 Session 4 – Product development methodologies.
Ensuring that products are designed with accessibility features at an early stage, use of universal design methodologies.

Session Chair: Chiara Giovannini, Program Manager, European Association Representing Consumers in Standardization (ANEC)

* ITU-T SG 16 work on accessibility guidelines in standards, Gunnar Hellstrˆm, ITU
* Good practices perspective: development methodologies can take into account accessibility, Roman Longoria, Vice President, Computer Associates
* Extension of ISO 9000 product quality standards for accessibility in products, Sean McCurtain, Head, Conformity Assessment, ISO

16:00 ñ 16:15 Coffee break

16:15 ñ 17:15 Session 5 – The role of government in supporting accessibility standards.
Public procurement, regulations, and incentives in support of accessibility standards for ICTs.

Session Chair: Kevin Carey, Director, humanITy, and Vice Chair, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)

* Survey of government actions in supporting accessibility, Cynthia D. Waddell, Executive Director, International Center for Disability Resources on the Internet (ICDRI)
* U.S. Telecommunications and Electronic and Information Technology Advisory Committee (TEITAC) work on accessibility standards, Jim Tobias, Co-chair, TEITAC and President, Inclusive Technologies
* EU work on accessibility standards, Inmaculada Placencia Porrero and Martina Sindelar, European Commission Directorate General Employment, Social Affairs, and Equal Opportunities

17:15 ñ 18:00 Conclusions, recommendations and suggested follow-up

Session Chair: His Excellency Luis Gallegos, Ambassador of Ecuador to the United States; Past Chair of the UN General Assembly Ad-hoc Preparatory Committee for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and Chair, G3ict

1) Conclusions by session chairs
2) Feedback from Industry, Frances West, IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center
3) NGOs, Standards Development Organizations and Government leaders on follow-up steps

Summary of conclusions and recommendations, His Excellency Luis Gallegos, Ambassador of Ecuador to the United States and Chair, G3ict

G3ict is a Flagship Advocacy Initiative of the
United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development
led by the Wireless Internet Institute
50 Hurt Plaza SE, Suite 806 Atlanta, GA 30303, U.S.A.
Tel: +1 404 446-4160 Fax: +1 404 446 4173
Web site:

The above announcement is taken in full from a notice circulated recently on the <a href=” Partnership for Disability and Development (GPDD) listserv.

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NEWS: Jordan Ratifies CRPD

Posted on 1 April 2008. Filed under: Human Rights, Middle East and North Africa, News | Tags: , , , , , , , |

RatifyNow has now announced that Jordan ratified the international disabilities rights treaty, called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) yesterday, March 31, 2008.

Regular We Can Do readers will know that the CRPD is the first international legally binding human rights instrument to protect people with disabilities. It protects the rights of people with disabilities to have access to education and health services; to be free from torture and other forms of abuse; to have the right to make their own choices about what medical treatment they will accept or refuse; the right to live in the community; and more.

As of this writing (April 1 … and, no, not April Fool’s), the United Nations Enable web site has not yet announced Jordan’s ratification. But contacts within the ratification movement were able to verify the news with the UN Secretariat.

The CRPD needs to be ratified by a total of 20 countries before it can become legally enforceable, then it will go into effect 30 days later. Jordan is the 18th country to ratify since the treaty was opened for countries to sign and ratify. The other 17 ratifying countries include Bangladesh, Croatia, Cuba, El Salvador, Gabon, Guinea, Hungary, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Namibia, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, San Marino, South Africa, and Spain.

In addition to 18 ratifications, 126 countries have signed the CRPD. Signing an international treaty does not oblige a country to obey it. In order to be legally bound by a treaty, a country must ratify it. However, signing a treaty does send a signal that the country is interested in ratifying the treaty in the future. It also commits the country to avoiding any action that would violate the spirit of the treaty.

Keep watching this space for the next two ratifications, possibly within a week. Also watch for upcoming announcements on how RatifyNow plans to celebrate and promote the CRPD when it goes into effect 30 days after the 20th ratification.

Consult the RatifyNow FAQ to learn more about the CRPD, how it is meant to help people with disabilities, and how the ratification process works.

This text is taken with slight modifications from the web site with permission of author.

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RESOURCE: Implementing the Disability Rights Treaty, for Users, Survivors of Psychiatry

Posted on 19 March 2008. Filed under: Human Rights, Psychiatric Disabilities, Resources | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (WNUSP) has released a manual that can guide users in implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), with people who have used or survived psychiatry.

People with all types of disabilities may experience human rights violations at one time or another. People who have used or survived psychiatric services, however, may be particular targets for certain types of violations. For example, they may be more commonly denied the right to make their own choices about accepting or refusing medical care or entering the hospital. They may be required to take certain drugs or submit to other treatments even if they hold the strong opinion that the potentially harmful side effects outweigh the benefits.

WNUSP’s implementation manual highlights aspects of the interational disability rights treaty (CRPD) that are particularly relevant to users and survivors of psychiatry. These include the areas of legal capacity, liberty, right to live in the community, freedom from forced psychiatric interventions, and the right to participate in enforcing the CRPD.

The manual also explains relevant terminology. For example, the CRPD uses the term “people with mental impairments” to refer to people with mental health problems, or who have mental disabilities, or who have used or survived psychiatry. This term was chosen with WNUSP’s agreement during the process of negotiating the international disability rights treaty. However, WNUSP prefers the use of the phrase “psychosocial disability.”

WNUSP’s manual explains and summarizes each article of the CRPD, with particular attention to its relevance for people with psychosocial disabilities. The manual also makes recommendations for how to address common concerns that governments and others may express about certain aspects of the CRPD as they apply to people with psychosocial disabilities. It describes an array of alternate approaches to healing, treatment, or supporting people in making and expressing their own choices that have been used in various countries. The manual ends with an explanation of how user/survivor organizations can be involved with monitoring the implementation of the CRPD.

Learn more about WNUSP’s implementation manual for the CRPD, or download it in Word format (289 Kb), at:

We Can Do first learned about WNUSP’s implementation manual for the CRPD via the Disabled People’s International email newsletter. Further detail was obtained from the manual itself.

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This blog post is copyrighted to We Can Do ( Currently, only two web sites have on-going permission to syndicate (re-post) We Can Do blog posts in full: and Other sites are most likely plagiarizing this post without permission.

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NEWS: Nepal signs disability rights treaty and protocol

Posted on 10 January 2008. Filed under: Cross-Disability, Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Latest Development: Nepal signs the CRPD
Nepal became the most recent signatory to the international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the accompanying optional protocol on January 3, 2008. A total of 121 countries have now signed the CRPD and 68 have signed the optional protocol. Most of these countries, however, have not yet ratified either.

Ratifying versus Signing a Treaty
Signing a treaty is not the same as ratifying it. A signatory country is not required to obey the treaty: it only needs to avoid actively violating it. A country does not become a “states party” to a treaty until they fully ratify it. Becoming a states party (ratifying a treaty) means the country agrees to be legally bound by the treaty.

The CRPD needs to be ratified by 20 countries before it can take full force; it has now been ratified by 14, including Bangladesh, Croatia, Cuba, El Salvador, Gabon, Hungary, India, Jamaica, Mexcio, Namibia, Nicaragua, Panama, South Africa, and Spain. The Optional Protocol needs to be ratified by 10 countries before it becomes enforceable; it has now been ratified by 7, including Croatia, Hungary, Mexico, Namibia, Panama, South Africa, and Spain.

Both the full list of ratifications and the full list of signatories are available on the web.

The Background: The CRPD and the Optional Protocol
The CRPD is an international human rights treaty meant to protect a range of rights for people with disabilties. A few examples include the right to liberty; to freedom from torture, violent exploitation, and abuse; to healthcare; to education; to privacy; to sign contracts; to accessible public transit and public accommodations.

Although several other international human rights treaties are already in force–most famously, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights–many of these treaties do not mention disabled people at all. The few that do usually do not cover their right to full participation in society.

The Optional Protocol gives people who have suffered human rights violations another option for pursuing justice. In countries that only ratify the CRPD without the Optional Protocol, a person who feels their rights under the treaty have been violated can use the appropriate channels within their country to correct that violation. For example, they may be able to file a complaint with local or national legal authorities or bring a lawsuit through the courts. But if all national-level systems fail to achieve justice, then the Optional Protocol allows a person to pursue redress by applying to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

For more background on the CRPD, consult a FAQ written by the organization RatifyNow. More information about the CRPD is also available at the United Nations web site on disabilities.

Individuals and organizations seeking to join the global movement to maximize the number of countries ratifying the CRPD and the Optional Protocols may wish to join the organization RatifyNow. Individuals may also participate in email-based discussions on the global movement by joining the RatifyNow Listserve.

We Can Do learned about Nepal becoming a signatory via an announcement sent out by Ghulam Nabi Nazimani.

Catch up on the latest news about the CRPD and other topics.

This blog post is cross-posted both here and at RatifyNow with permission of the author.

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NEWS: El Salvador, Mexico Ratify Disability Rights Treaty

Posted on 21 December 2007. Filed under: Human Rights, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Press Release from Rehabilitation International (RI)
Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua Ratify the UN Disability Rights Convention
RI Calls on Governments to Recognize the Human Rights of All by Ratifying the CRPD

(United Nations, New York, USA, 17 December 2007): RI congratulates the Governments of Mexico, El Salvador and Nicaragua for ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), bringing the number to 14 States Parties. Mexico also ratified the Optional Protocol. RI calls on all governments which have not yet ratified the CRPD and its Optional Protocol to do so as a matter of priority and without reservations and declarations. Furthermore, RI urges all States Parties to begin the process of implementation by developing laws, programs and policies to ensure that ALL persons with disabilities, regardless of the type of disability, enjoy all of the rights in the Convention.

Libre Acceso President Federico Fleischmann said, “We recognize the great efforts of the Government of Mexico for being a leader in promoting the human rights of persons with disabilities, as embodied in the Convention. RI and its member in Mexico, Libre Acceso, are committed to working within its broad network to ensure that Mexican laws are strengthened to comply with the high standards set by the Convention.”

As part of its Global Advocacy Campaign, RI partnered with Libre Acceso, representatives of the Mexican government, the Mexican law firm Barrera, Siqueiros y Torres Landa, S.C., the international law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and local disability experts to develop recommendations on how Mexico’s National Disability Law can comply with the Convention. These recommendations, presented to the Mexican Government on October 18, 2007, were formally adopted by Partido Accion Nacional (PAN), the political party of the Mexican President, as the official proposed amendments to this national law. The Senate and Chamber of Deputies will now discuss the amendments, which may be adopted as early as next year. This RI project has been made possible because of the generous support of an anonymous donor and Irish Aid.

“We are very happy today to deposit the instrument of ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Setting up the legal framework is only the first step. The real challenge is to build a culture where the human rights of every person are fully respected,” said Senator Guillermo Tamborrel, President of the Commission on Vulnerable

Groups and a member of PAN. Senator Tamborrel, together with Senator Maria los Angeles Moreno Uriegas of Partido Revolucionario Institutional (PRI), were present when Mexico deposited its ratification instrument today.

The CRPD, the first human rights treaty of the 21st century, represents an essential legal instrument prohibiting discrimination against persons with disabilities in all areas of life, and includes specific provisions related to rehabilitation, habilitation, education, employment, health and access to information, public facilities and services, among others. The Optional Protocol concerns how individuals or groups can seek redress for violations of the CRPD once national remedies are exhausted. The Convention will become international law after 20 ratifications.

For more information, also consult the recent We Can Do post entitled “12 Countries Ratify International Disability Rights Treaty. Background information on the CRPD, a list of signatories, and a visual map of ratifying countries, can also be found at the United Nations Enable web site. Resources and ideas for how to become involved with the global campaign to ratify the treaty can be found at the RatifyNow organization web site.

# # #

For more information on the UN Convention and contact details of experts within the RI membership, please contact Tomas Lagerwall (, RI Secretary General, or Shantha Rau (, Senior Program Officer, at +1-212-420-1500.

About RI
Founded in 1922, RI is a global and diverse organization bringing together expertise from different sectors in the disability field, to advance and implement the rights and inclusion of persons with disabilities. RI is currently composed of over 700 members and affiliated organizations in 93 nations, in all regions of the world.

RI works closely with other disability organizations, actively participating in the International Disability Alliance (IDA) – a network of eight global, democratic organizations of persons with disabilities – and was an active member of the International Disability Caucus (IDC) – a coalition of disability organizations and NGOs that participated in the negotiations toward the Convention. RI also maintains official relations with the United Nations and its agencies and institutions as well as with other international organizations, NGOs and universities.

For more information about RI, please visit their accessible website:

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