[A2k] Opening remarks of the World Blind Union at Marrakesh Diplomatic Conference on a WIPO Treaty for the Blind

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Tue Jun 18 11:21:46 PDT 2013


Opening Remarks WIPO DIP Com 18 June 2013

By: Maryanne Diamond on behalf of the WBU

"Thank you Mr Chairman for the opportunity to speak at this most important
Diplomatic conference.

The WBU represents the 285 Million persons in the world who are blind or
have low vision. We have members in all continents of the world: from North
America, Latin America, Europe Africa Asia and Asia Pacific. Some
representatives from our member organisations are here with me today and we
will be here throughout this conference. We have been working towards this
important day for more than 30 years. In particular, over the last 5 years
through WIPO’s SCCR.

Distinguished delegates, blind and print disabled people have access to
between 1 – 7 % of published books in the world depending on where you
live. 80% of blind people live in the developing world so for the majority
of our members, the figure is closer to the 1%.

This treaty can make a huge difference in the lives of our members. Access
to education, employment, culture, and recreational reading, gives people
choice. Without it, those people are marginalised and for many this means
they do not take their rightful place in their community.

Please remember the right to information is a human right!

I urge you to play your part in making a difference in the lives of these
millions of people, by agreeing a treaty that is simple, usable and
meaningful. We cannot accept a treaty which has no substance, nor, can we
accept a treaty full of bureaucratic and cumbersome requirements. We cannot
accept a trophy treaty that will not work in practice.

When considering your proposals, changes or amendments to the text, please
stop and think about what that change will make on the ground to the people
this treaty is about.

You have received copies of our positions on the key issues in the current
text of concern to us.

• Commercial availability in articles D and E will ensure the treaty fails
• The treaty must allow for distribution to individuals
• The treaty must not allow TPMs to be a block to access to a book by blind

Please ask us if you’re not sure what the impact of text you are
considering will be on the ground. We are here for the entire conference.

Ladies and gentlemen; these next few days you have a chance to create
history and really do some good in the world for an often marginalised part
of humanity. Please seize it with both hands and help us write a new
chapter in the story of blind people’s inclusion in society."

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