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Software & More => Web News => Topic started by: Ripley on December 03, 2006, 01:44:28 PM

Title: United Nations 2006 Theme: "E-Accessibility"
Post by: Ripley on December 03, 2006, 01:44:28 PM
2006 marks the 25 year anniversary since the International Year of Disabled Persons, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981.
In 1992, at the conclusion of the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons (1983-1992), the General Assembly proclaimed 3 December as the International Day of Disabled Persons.  Each annual observance has a "theme," and this year it is E-Accessibility.

From the United Nations website:

                            International Day of Disabled Persons
                                              3 December 2006

                                    2006 Theme: "E-Accessibility"

How the Day may be observed

    * Involve: Observance of the Day provides opportunities for participation by all interested communities - governmental, non-governmental  and the private sector - to focus upon catalytic and innovative measures to further implement international norms and standards related to persons with disabilities. Schools, universities and similar institutions can make particular contributions with regard to promoting greater interest and awareness among interested parties of the social, cultural, economic, civil and political rights of persons with disabilities.

    * Organize: Hold forums, public discussions and information campaigns in support of the Day focusing on disability issues and trends and ways and means by which persons with disabilities and their families are pursuing independent life styles, sustainable livelihoods and financial security.

    * Celebrate: Plan and organize performances everywhere to showcase - and celebrate - the contributions by persons with disabilities to the societies in which they live and convene exchanges and dialogues focusing on the rich and varied skills, interests and aspirations of persons with disabilities.

    * Take Action: A major focus of the Day is practical action to further implement international norms and standards concerning persons with disabilities and to further their participation in social life and development on the basis of equality. The media have especially important contributions to make in support of the observance of the Day - and throughout the year - regarding appropriate presentation of progress and obstacles implementing disability-sensitive policies, programmes and projects and to promote public awareness of the contributions by persons with disabilities. (

Title: Re: United Nations 2006 Theme: "E-Accessibility"
Post by: Ripley on December 03, 2006, 01:49:18 PM
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's message on the International Day of Disabled Persons, observed on 3 December 2006:

The theme of this year"s observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons, "E-accessibility”, reminds us of the need to make the Internet available to everyone.
Access to information and communication technologies creates opportunities for all people, perhaps none more so than persons with disabilities. 
And, as the development of the Internet and these technologies takes their needs more fully into account, the barriers of prejudice, infrastructure and inaccessible formats need no longer stand in the way of participation.

This is a welcome change.  As information and communication technologies spread across the world, drawing in more and more users every day, most websites remained inaccessible to the millions of people who have difficulty manipulating a mouse, or who are visually impaired and need a “screen reader” or large fonts to read the page.  Slowly, Governments and the private sector have been recognizing the economic and
social benefits of making websites fully accessible, and have been putting in place changes involving software and hardware alike.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is expected to be approved by the General Assembly later this month, can give additional impetus to this trend.  States that choose to become party to the Convention will thereby commit themselves to taking steps to provide “information intended for the general public to persons with disabilities in accessible formats and technologies appropriate to different kinds of disabilities in a timely manner and without additional cost”.  The Convention urges private businesses and mass media to do the same with their services.

On this International Day, let us pledge again to do our utmost to achieve the vision of an inclusive, people-centred, development-oriented information society.  And let us redouble our efforts to ensure that persons with disabilities can exercise their human rights and play their full part in the economic, social and political lives of their societies.

Title: Re: United Nations 2006 Theme: "E-Accessibility"
Post by: Ripley on December 03, 2006, 01:53:16 PM
On a personal note, I've surveyed online, the various events/activities that are planned around the globe for this observance, and there are too many to list.

But it is noteworthy, IMO, concerning the leadership and commitment of the Australian government for this years celebrations as well as past years.

If you have time, check out this website that they have set up for activites throughout 2006: (

I believe I read there were some 1800 events sponsored last year. 

I also appreciate these statements from their website:

"Based on feedback from the disability sector, the Australian Government has adopted the name International Day of People with Disability.
Since 1996, the Australian Government has administered an allocation of funds to promote and raise awareness of IDPwD."

Title: Re: United Nations 2006 Theme: "E-Accessibility"
Post by: philsharp on December 04, 2006, 03:22:45 AM
This might interest you ripley.  Excerpts from the the NSW Parliament sitting after the 2000 Paralympics.

"I support the motions relating to both the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games. I wish to speak first about the Paralympic Games. It was said during the closing ceremony that the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games were the most successful Paralympics in the history of the event. The Premier and other members of this House have made similar statements during this debate. I acknowledge the success of the schools program associated with the Paralympic Games, which was a unique addition to the management of the Games. Some 400,000 schoolchildren visited the Paralympic Games. This was done through a program commenced more than a year ago by the Department of Education and Training in which schoolchildren were linked to Paralympians of other nations via access to the Internet system, which was installed in New South Wales schools by the State Government.

As part of the program children were taught about the importance of making the most of one's abilities and not focusing on people's disabilities. Many children were able to co-ordinate their visits to the Paralympics to watch the Paralympians that they had studied. Through our school system and this unique program, the Paralympics were used not only as a sporting event for disabled people but also as an educative tool to seek to change the attitudes of young people in our country, particularly those in New South Wales. Anyone who attended the Paralympics, either during the evenings or on weekends, would have noted the enormous participation of young people in the events. Throughout the whole period there were young people everywhere, cheering on the disabled athletes.

For me, the atmosphere at the Paralympic Games was similar to the atmosphere at the Olympic Games: a sense of joy and anticipation at being at a major international sporting event. It is little wonder that the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games were regarded as the best ever. Anyone who attended the Games on the first couple of days would have observed the momentum that built up throughout the community as the events were reported on ABC radio and ABC television. Each day the community became more involved in the Paralympics, and became more appreciative of the sporting skills of people with disabilities."

ripley,  like most countries we still have a long way to go but after 2000 we are all, hopefully, much more aware.

Cheers!  philsharp :)