Joining Marrakesh Treaty facilitates visually impaired people in Vietnam: experts

Tuesday, 2019-10-29 15:32:07
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Vietnam has issued and implemented a ranges of policies and projects to help remove barriers and create jobs for people with visual impairments to rise up in their lives. (Photo for illustration: Ha Noi Moi)
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NDO – Vietnam’s joining the Marrakesh Treaty would help remove barriers and create favourable conditions for people with visual impairments in the country to rise up in life, experts have said.

Experts and policy makers gathered at a workshop held by the Vietnam Blind Association (VBA) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Hanoi on October 29, discussing measures to build a roadmap to accelerate Vietnam joining the Marrakesh Treaty.

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)-administered treaty on copyright, adopted in Marrakesh, Morocco, in June 2013, allows for copyright exceptions to facilitate the creation of accessible versions of books and other copyrighted works for visually impaired persons.

Speaking at the workshop, VBA Chairman Pham Viet Thu said that despite joining and ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2015, Vietnam has not yet participated in the Marrakesh Treaty.

According to Thu, the access to works and information for people with disabilities in general and those with visual impairments in particular is still limited, thus preventing their access to education, employment, healthcare, and cultural activities as well as almost every socio-economic aspect.

"The visually impaired people always desire to learn and contribute to the national development. This is the reason that motivates us to join the Marrakesh Treaty to ensure the rights and benefits of Vietnam people with disabilities," Thu emphasised.

Sitara Syed, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Vietnam, said that with the purpose of leaving no one behind, UNDP has been providing the maximum support for Vietnam in joining the Marrakesh Treaty, as well as ensuring the legitimate rights of people with disabilities.

Deputy Head of Department of Social Assistance (under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs) Pham Thi Hai Ha said that in recent years, the State has always been issuing a range of policies and schemes to support Vietnamese with disabilities to integrate into the community, as well as having access knowledge and information. Ha affirmed that joining the Marrakesh Treaty would remove barriers and create favourable conditions for people with visual impairments in Vietnam to rise up in life.

According to the World Health Organisation, there are about one billion people with disabilities in the world with more than 80% living in developing countries, where the percentage of visually impaired persons with access to literacy tools is less than 1%. This situation is preventing millions of visually impaired people from all over the world from accessing education, employment, healthcare, culture and education activities.

In 2013, WIPO members signed the Marrakesh Treaty with the goal of eliminating copyright obstacles. The treaty came into effect on September 30, 2016, to legalise and facilitate the publication and sharing in and among member countries of accessible formats for visually impaired persons and those with print disabilities. As of early October 2019, 88 countries have ratified the Marrakesh Treaty.