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WBU Calls on CRPD state parties to implement Marrakesh Treaty

The World Blind Union (WBU) has called for accelerated ratification and implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for nearly 300 million persons who are blind or visually impaired, especially those living in developing countries.
The Treaty introduces standard limitations and exceptions to copyright to enable print-disabled individuals and the organizations that represent them to create, consume, and share published works in accessible formats. 

Addressing the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)​ in Geneva, August 14, on behalf of WBU, Professor Laurence R. Helfer, of Duke University and co-author of the World Blind Union Guide to the Marrakesh Treaty​, pointed out that although the Treaty enjoys strong support from governments around the world, the number of ratifying states remains low. The Treaty entered into force in September 2016 and has so far been ratified by 31 countries. 

"The CRPD Committee has endeavored to increase this number by emphasizing – in general comments and in concluding observations on state party reports – “the urgency of ratifying and implementing” the Treaty. To date, however, the Committee has not addressed the specific legal and policy choices that governments face when deciding how to implement the Treaty."

Professor Helfer recommended that the Committee should encourage states parties not to impose unnecessary or costly barriers that make it more difficult for print-disabled persons to make and share published works in accessible formats. 

He further urged governments to consult with print-disabled individuals, disability rights groups, national human rights institutions, and CRPD focal and coordination points regarding the appropriate measures to implement the Marrakesh Treaty.

For more information, please contact:
Terry Mutuku, Communications Officer, World Blind Union