28 Sep 2022, 21:41

Bangladesh ratifies Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate people with disabilities

DHAKA, Sept 28, 2022 (BSS) - Bangladesh has ratified the 'Marrakesh Treaty' of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to facilitate access to published works for the blind, visually impaired or people with print disabilities. 

Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN Md Mustafizur Rahman presented the documents of the ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty to WIPO Director General Daren Tang at WIPO headquarters in Geneva on Monday, said a press release here today. 

By ratifying the treaty, Bangladesh became the 116th nation in the world to sign the agreement to improve the access to books and reading for the country's people with disabilities.

The Marrakesh Treaty was adopted on June 27 in 2013 at a diplomatic conference of WIPO, the United Nations specialized agency, in the city of Marrakesh in Morocco, which came into effect on September 30 in 2016. 

Prior to Bangladesh, 115 other nations throughout the world, including neighboring countries like India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, signed the treaty.

WIPO Director General Daren Tang said, "Thanks to today's accession, Bangladesh will now have access to all accessible books for the visually impaired youth of the country to ensure their full participation in economic, social, and cultural life". 

WIPO looks forward to continuing important collaboration with Bangladesh to improve the quality of life of people with all kinds of reading disabilities, including the visually impaired, Tang added.

According to the release, an estimated 340,000 visually impaired people in Bangladesh will have access to more than 800,000 accessible books via WIPO's "Accessible Book Consortium" as a result of the Marrakesh Treaty. 

In the meantime, the Ministry of Social Welfare and a2i jointly facilitated Multimedia Talking Book, developed an Accessible Dictionary and distributed Braille textbooks at the beginning of the academic year and set up a specially designed ICT Lab for visually impaired students to intensify their skills and ensuring other much-needed amenities. 

To improve the living standards of persons with disabilities in Bangladesh, a2i has been working jointly with different departments and ministries of the government and private organizations, including the Prime Minister's Office, Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cabinet Division, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Division, and Copyright Office. 

Bangladesh has made a step forward paving the way to attaining the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG-4) by 2030 by ratifying the Marrakesh Treaty, which guarantees all people with disabilities equal opportunity in education.


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