Information and communication technologies have a huge potential to help the world’s 650 million people with disabilities to overcome the obstacles that all too often prevent them from living their lives fully, at school, at work, and in society at large.
The first ever high-level conference to promote the human rights and fundamental freedoms of this very large group of people, representing ten percent of humanity, will be held in New Delhi from 24 to 26 November. Organized by UNESCO and the Government of India, the conference, entitled From Exclusion to Empowerment: Role of ICT for Persons with Disabilities, will bring together some 1,000 decision-makers, experts, representatives of civil society and IT industry.
It will encourage all stakeholders to take concrete measures for the empowerment of persons with disabilities through the use of ICTs, building on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006).
The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, will open the conference alongside members of the Indian Government: Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communications and Information Technology; Shri Thaawar Chand Gehlot, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment; Smriti Zubin Irani, Minister of Human Resource Development. Keynote addresses will be given at the opening session by Dr Karan Singh, Member of the Rajya Sabha (India’s Upper House) and Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee.
The conference will provide a forum to explore the choices and opportunities available to people with disabilities. Particular attention will be given to education, information and knowledge, as well as economic empowerment through improved access to work and more social inclusion.
One hundred and thirty speakers from around the world are scheduled to address issues related to sustainable development, accessibility and technological solutions, as well as access to information and knowledge for persons with disabilities using ICTs.
The participants will also make recommendations on the appropriate use of ICTs in favour of persons with disabilities.
Other events scheduled during the conference include We Care, a festival of short films and documentaries on the theme of the Conference, drawing attention to the multiple abilities of persons with disabilities; and an exhibition of innovative assistive technologies and ICTs for persons with disabilities.
- Ms Rekha Beri, Documentalist and Public Information Officer, UNESCO New Delhi
(9810852548; Email: r.beri(at)unesco.org)
- Mr Anirban Sarma, National Programme Officer (Communication and Information Sector), UNESCO New Delhi (Mob: 9999265920; Email: a.sarma(at)unesco.org)
- UNESCO Press Service (Paris), Roni Amelan, r.amelan(at)unesco.org +33 (0)1 45 68 16 50