Statement Of The Working Group On The Rights Of Older Persons And Persons With Disabilities In Africa Of The African Commission On Human And Peoples’ Rights, On The Occasion Of The World Braille Day – 4th January 2016

    The Working Group on the Rights of Older Persons and Persons with Disabilities in Africa (the Working Group) of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the Commission) celebrates this 4th January 2016, the birth anniversary of Mr Louis Braille the inventor of Braille which is a writing and reading system utilised worldwide by visually impaired persons. 

    This celebration is an occasion for the Working Group to recognise the invaluable contribution and achievement of Mr Braille in the inclusion and participation in society of visually impaired persons. 

    The invention of Mr Braille is revolutionary and allows visually impaired persons to fully contribute to all aspects of society as it removed the stiff barrier of illiteracy which they used to face; as well as the full expression of their potentials. 

    As the whole world celebrates this day, the Working Group takes this opportunity to remind member states of their obligations vis-à-vis all vulnerable groups and specifically with regards to persons who are visually challenged. 

    Thus, the Working Group reaffirms that under international human rights law and particularly under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the united Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol, the Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled (the Marrakech Treaty), and other relevant instruments, persons with disabilities are entitled to special protection measures and specific actions aiming at avoiding that disability becomes a breach of equality between human beings. 

    Further, the Working Group recalls and draws the attention on Resolution ACHPR/Res.305 (EXT.OS/XVIII) 2015 on Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities, adopted by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights at its 18th Extra-Ordinary Session held in Nairobi, Kenya, form 29 July to 7 August 2015; in which States Parties that have not done so are urged to ratify the Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled. 

    It is also an opportunity to commend efforts towards the promotion of Braille and to call upon States Parties and other relevant stakeholders to join efforts in making Braille accessible to all persons who are visually impaired as this revolutionary writing and reading tool is still somehow a luxury for many of them. 

    Finally, the Working Group while wishing a happy World Braille Day to all visually impaired persons, reiterates its commitment to finalise the drafting process of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights relative to the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa; which would clearly spell out in the African context the rights of persons with disabilities, including those with visual impairments. 

    Done in Banjul, The Gambia, on 4th January 2014

     

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      Date: 04 January 2016

      Special Mechanism: Working Group on Rights of Older Persons and People with Disabilities

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