RT2010_FromPrinciplesToPractice.doc

RT2010_FromPrinciplesToPractice.doc - Keynote Address...

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Keynote Address: Accessible Information and Human Rights: From Principle to Practice Robyn Hunt AccEase New Zealand and Australia have both ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, (CRPD). It is now international law, and part of the international human rights framework. Countries that have ratified the CRPD are subject to national and international reporting and monitoring processes, which include regular reporting to a United Nations monitoring committee on progress. Non- governmental organisations may also submit a shadow report. How do we move from the principled nature of the CRPD to the practical day to day implementation of its provisions? What are the implications, obligations and opportunities for the various parties involved and what changes might the human rights approach bring to current practice. What impact might this have on the daily lives of print disabled people Introduction Greetings Thank you for giving me this opportunity to present the opening keynote for the conference. Disabled people have existed and in some parts of the world still do exist in isolated pockets and ghettos on the margins of communities, with their information needs relegated to poorly funded charitable organisations if they are met at all. Governments often accept little or no responsibility for their information needs. We know that only 5% of print information is ever translated into alternative formats. New technologies create both barriers and opportunities for those who need accessible information in different formats and media. While some new technologies and channels for communication have begun to break down the walls and barriers, internationally progress has been agonisingly slow without a values-driven philosophical foundation for a changed world view. The international Human rights framework provides a clear and established platform for the development of new ways of designing and implementing policies and procedures, but most importantly for new understandings of disability as a rights issue for a diverse group of people, Disability is no longer a problem to be ‘fixed’ or simply ignored, centred in a deficient individual. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, known affectionately as the CRPD, or even DisCo is 1
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the focus for a human rights revolution for disabled people. The conference theme Think globally act locally lends itself very well to an exploration of the new human rights environment for disabled people in the context of access to information. But how do we move from the principled nature of the CRPD to its practical day to day implementation? What is the significance and the implications, obligations and opportunities for the various parties involved and what changes might the human rights approach bring to current practice? What impact might this have on the daily lives of print disabled people? I hope I can at least begin to answer these questions.
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