The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, Specialised Training & Disability Resource Centre together with the Internet Society Sri Lanka Chapter and the Accessibility Standing Group of the Global Internet Society organised a webinar on “Exclusion to Inclusion” in December 2022, by respecting the culture, language and diversity of disability in being equally treated in the digital space.
The importance of this webinar was effective participation by persons with disability in relevant decision-making processes based on the recognition of the disability movement’s mission: Nothing about us without us.
We, disability leaders in Sri Lanka agree that we advocate for:
- The ratification and implementation of international instruments such as the
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Marrakech Treaty and the Sustainable Development Goals (as related to persons with disability) in our country.
- The commitment by Governments to make ICT and the digital environment in our country accessible for persons with disability by formulating and implementing legislation and regulation in accordance with the international instruments. This includes making e-government services accessible adhering to the current version of W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. This commitment should be enforced by the governments with designated trained staff as well as reasonable financial resources. Furthermore, research and development in accessible technology be supported for low cost availability of digital products to persons with disability.
- Making educational facilities and curriculum at all levels accessible through an equal delivery mechanism. Developing and delivering university courses on digital accessibility.
- Providing an enabling environment facilitated by accessible digital resources in the public and private sector for creating employment opportunities for people with disability.
- Businesses and the private sector making their online services accessible and adhering to the current version of W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
- International donor agencies and IGOs providing accessible technologies, both hardware and software, to people with disability in their developing country programs. This includes training in the effective and safe use of the Internet.
- Internet organisations welcoming people with disability in their deliberations and making their programs and communications accessible. Concurrently, people with disability will build knowledge to proactively and productively participate.
- The accessibility of communication, advertisement and public messaging through the provision of alternate formats.
The most significant aspect of this webinar was that all resource persons were persons with disabilities making the nothing about us without us concept a reality. Ms. Manique Gunaratne (vision impaired), Ms. Gunela Astbrink, Mr. Chamod Ruwanga (vision impaired), Mr. Udara Gnanaratne (partially sighted), Ms. Chani Jayathilake (physical disability), Mr. Thusitha Rangana (hearing impaired) and Ms. Nandani Wijeratnam spoke on digital rights of persons with diverse disabilities.
Advisory Board Member – 18+ Alliance for Care Leavers (SOS Children’s Village)