For the first time, the United Nations will be able to print material directly in Braille. The credit goes to a donation of a state-of-the-art printer by the non-profit organisation, Services for the Visually Impaired, (S.V.I.), U.S.A., along with the World Blind Union (W.B.U.).
Harold Snider, Executive Director, S.V.I., said the high-speed, heavy-duty embosser would provide the U.N. with Braille production capacity in all six of the organisation’s official languages.
Mr. Snider added: “Since the beginning of negotiations in 1989, the W.B.U. had been encouraging the United Nations’ Department of Economic and Social Affairs to produce documents concerning the convention in Braille. Blind representatives from developed countries had portable computers with Braille output, which enabled them to read documents posted on websites. However, those from developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America had no such equipment and consequently no access. The need for Braille production on paper for all blind representatives was thus self-evident and clear-cut”.
The equipment was used at the seventh session of the General Assembly Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities, at the United Nations’ headquarters from January 16 to February 3, 2006.
Don MacKay, Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee and Permanent Representative of New Zealand to the United Nations, declared this as a positive step towards accessibility by the United Nations.
The equipment will ensure the full participation to the session of visually impaired participants, both from governments and disability organisations.