130312 UNESCO Global Report Opening new Avenues for Empowerment

130312 UNESCO Global Report Opening new Avenues for Empowerment

ICTs to Access Information and Knowledge for Persons with Disabilities

Communication and information are essential for the development of people and societies. It is thanks to the networks of connections which are established freely between individuals that a society is able to advance, as well as the personal development of individuals which makes it possible to increase the collective benefit of all those who form a society.

In light of this, special attention should be paid and necessary products and services should be created for persons with disabilities. The more totalitarian and repressive societies are, the more restricted access to information and knowledge is, as well as the application of rights to self-expression and opinion. In addition, special services and attention for the common good of society are limited. However, when a society is free and respectful of human rights, individuals have more solidarity, are open to work together and share information. As a consequence of this free exchange of information and knowledge, it should be possible to build a more inclusive society which can fully participate in the social, cultural and economic life, intellectually and culturally rich, and where people with different abilities, can take full advantage of Information and Communication Technologies.

Access to information and knowledge allows humans to contribute to social development where he or she can make better choices, and to share the richness with those around them. The conditions, special capacities and abilities of each individual to learn should never be an obstacle or an impediment to their individual development. On the contrary, it is the duty of all authorities to establish an enabling environment and provide special services to those who require them, keeping people with disabilities in mind. Such an inclusive society ensures that each person is valued as an equal human being.

UNESCO’s publication titled “Opening New Avenues for Empowerment: ICTs to Access Information and Knowledge for Persons with Disabilities” not only makes a major contribution to our understanding of disability, but also highlights technological advancement and shares good practices that have already changed the lives of people with disabilities. The publication also makes concrete recommendations for action at the local, national and international levels, targeting policy and decision makers, educators, IT&T industry, civil society and certainly persons with disabilities.