Over one million books are published yearly, but less than seven percent of them are accessible to people with vision and print disabilities, according to the World Blind Union.
To create equitable access to knowledge for all, as many countries as possible must ratify the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled.
The world needs your support to ensure that the maximum number of accessible books reach the hands of as many people as possible. Over 80 countries signed it. Twenty countries have now ratified and it went into effect on September 30, 2016, but only in those in those nations that have ratified. The Hindu published WIPO Director General Francis Gurry's persuasive op-ed piece urging other countries to join in ratifying the treaty.
The Marrakesh Treaty will empower students who are blind to have textbooks in accessible formats. It will enable schools for the blind to share accessible works with each other, even across borders. It will put literature back in the hands of people who have lost their vision or physical ability to hold books independently. Schools, organizations for people who are blind, and other government-recognized entities will be allowed to create and share accessible formats of published works, hand-in-hand with the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to increase access and promote inclusion for people with disabilities.
The treaty strictly preserves copyrights and protects against potential abuse. Practical means to certify user eligibility and other technical safeguards are provided through authorized parties such as government agencies and certified schools for the blind in each country.
Please be an advocate for ratification in your country. Here are advocacy materials for you to use:
- Treaty Talking Points: Knowledge is power, so use these talking points to inform your friends, family, and leaders about the Marrakesh Treaty.
- Op-Ed for Publication: Send this op-ed to your local newspaper to advance the right to read for people who are blind.
- Social Media: Join a global conversation! Follow @ABCbooks4all. Use the #MarrakeshTreaty and/or #accessiblebooks hashtag to share your thoughts and become a global influencer for the treaty.
Read the Marrakesh Treaty
Read accessible formats of The Marrakesh Treaty in the following languages: