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 Report on Waddell Speech at Houses of Parliament, London

 

Submitted by Cynthia D. Waddell, Juris Doctor

Executive Director and Law, Policy and Technology Subject Matter Expert

International Center for Disability Resources on the Internet

 

Inter-Parliamentary Union Regional Seminar: Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 

27- 28 April 2009

 

At the request of the British Group, Inter-Parliamentary Union, I accepted an invitation to speak at a regional seminar to inform parliamentarians about the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities and how they can encourage their Governments to ratify and implement this important human rights treaty.

 The agenda topics during the two day seminar were introduced by Members of Parliament, experts and representatives of international and regional human rights bodies.  The emphasis of the meeting was on discussion and thematic debate with a view to allowing ample time for a free exchange of views. 

My topic fell under Session I: What does the Convention Cover? with a focus on the Accessibility provisions of the Convention.  Having served as the United Nations Ad Hoc Committee expert on accessibility for the built environment and ICT (Information and Communications Technology) during the drafting of the treaty, I presented my analysis of the provisions. 

I also discussed the accessible design of mainstream technology and pointed to the Kindle 2 controversy that was brewing in the U.S.  Advancements in mainstream technologies along with the growing convergence of audio, text and video functionalities enable the accessible design of mainstream technology never before possible.  The text-to-speech features of the Kindle 2 would, for the first time in history, provide a wireless electronic book with easy access for a wide spectrum of persons who cannot read print.  Yet due to a copyright dispute, the text-to-speech features were being turned off by various authors and publishing houses.  It appears that copyright laws may need to be revisited and adjusted to accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities.  There also may be other technology related laws that may come into scrutiny as countries begin to implement the Convention.

 

Here are some pictures of the event:

Cynthia Waddell in a park in London near Parliament

Cynthia Waddell in a park in London near Parliament

 

Cynthia Waddell giving Speech

Cynthia Waddell giving Speech

 

Distinguished participants (from left to right) His Excellency, Ambassador Luis Gallegos, Ambassador of Ecuador to the United States, former Chair of the UN Ad Hoc Committee; Rachel Hurst, OBE, Director, Disability Awareness in Action; Dr. Roger Berry MP, Co-Chair of the Disabilities All Party Group; and Mohammed Al-Tarawneh, Chair, Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Distinguished participants (from left to right) His Excellency, Ambassador Luis Gallegos, Ambassador of Ecuador to the United States, former Chair of the UN Ad Hoc Committee; Rachel Hurst, OBE, Director, Disability Awareness in Action; Dr. Roger Berry MP, Co-Chair of the Disabilities All Party Group; and Mohammed Al-Tarawneh, Chair, Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

 

Picture of audience at Cynthia Waddell's speech

Picture of audience at Cynthia Waddell's speech

 

 

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