Workshop on ICT Accessibility for Persons with Disability Event for disabled people’s organizations and media 12-13 December 2017 Yangon, Myanmar Myanmar Independent Living Initiative (MILI), established in 2011, is a self-help organization led by disabled persons that has been working at various levels and fighting for equal rights, inclusion and independent living of people with multiple types of disabilities in Myanmar. MILI promotes disability access in employment, education, health, disaster-risk reduction, social-enterprise, social, political, electoral and public sectors. LIRNEasia is a pro-poor, pro-market think tank established in 2004. It has been working on catalyzing policy change through research to improve people’s lives in the emerging Asia Pacific by facilitating their use of hard and soft infrastructures through the use of knowledge, information and technology. Myanmar ICT Development Organization (MIDO), established in 2012, uses Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a tool for the development of the country by narrowing the digital divide in Myanmar; using ICT for the country’s development and the safeguarding of human rights; and encouraging the emergence of good Internet policies for ICT users.
Ever since Nirmita Narasimhan gave a colloquium on ICTs and disabilities at LIRNEasia in 2011, the topic has not been far from my mind. We included a component in the ongoing Myanmar project and are pushing hard to get assistive technologies into the policy discourse in that country. But my inability to get a single mainstream newspaper to write a substantive article on Sri Lanka’s ratification of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, despite personal emails to influential journalists, shows we have a ways to go. It is in this context that I found this Indian article, originally published in a tech publication, Dataquest, of interest. But experts such as Javed Abidi, Honorary Director of National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), feel that the issues facing the assistive technology market in India go much beyond that.
The International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the United Nations in 2006 according to the universal declaration of Human Rights and international conventions on human rights. Sri Lanka has signed the convention in 2007 and the proposal made by S.B. Dissanayake, Minister of Social Empowerment and Welfare, to ratify the convention for the benefit of Sri Lankan disabled persons, was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. Link to Cabinet decision.