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Knowledge Society Agency (UMIC)
Home  > Inclusion and Accessibility  > News  > International Day of Disabled People

International Day of Disabled People

 - 02/12/2006

Logo of the Access Program The United Nations Organisation (UNO) declared 3rd December 2006 as International Day of Disabled People. The topic chosen for this day is access to the Internet and norms to improve accessibility conditions. The UNO organised two events on 4th December 2006, a conference on eAccessibility and the first meeting of the Global Initiative for Inclusive Technology and released the “Global Audit of Web Accessibility” report the following day. A group of citizens in Portugal is launching the Petition for Portuguese Electronic Accessibility (in Portuguese) to be handed to the Portuguese Parliament in a similar process to that of 1998, which led to Council of Ministers Resolution nº 97/99 (text in Portuguese), of 26th August, which was an initial milestone for the topic of accessibility on Web pages in Portugal.

On 14th December 1992, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted its Resolution 47/3, which declared 3rd December as World Day for Persons with Disabilities.

This year, the Secretary-General decided to set the International Community a challenge on this day of making the Internet accessible to all by defining “e-Accessibility” as the topic of the day, via a message that can be accessed on the UN website.

In his message, Mr. Kofi Annan reminds us that:
Access to information and communication technologies creates opportunities for all people, perhaps none more so than persons with disabilities. As the development of the Internet and these technologies takes their needs more fully into account, the barriers of prejudice, infrastructure and inaccessible formats need no longer stand in the way of participation.

UMIC is supporting this day and its objectives in various manners.

The first aspect is related to its daily activity, through the Inclusion and Accessibility Projects it operates:

ACCESS Programme     

Its objective is to promote the development, availability and dissemination of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) instruments that enable citizens with special needs, namely the disabled, the elderly and the bedridden, to overcome their difficulties.

Internet Spaces Network

Internet Spaces are free public access points where computers and the Internet are regularly available, backed up by their own staff (monitors), to help people use these technologies. Many of these spaces meet accessibility criteria for citizens with special needs. There are currently roughly 840 Internet Spaces operating in various locations around the country.

Solidarity Network

Comprising more than 240 Non-Governmental Organisations for and of Disabled People, the elderly or those at risk of exclusion, its roots can be traced back to when social solidarity institutions joined the RCTS – Science, Technology and Society Network.

In the context of funding from the Knowledge Society Operational Programme e-Inclusion line, mention should also be made of the 47 projects currently underway, which aim to make a vast array of products and services available on the national market specifically for people with special needs, encompassing such diverse areas as:

-     Making a vast bank of e-books available online;
-     Fitting out reading rooms in libraries with assistive technologies;
-     Support for bedridden patients;
-     Support for disabled higher education students;
-     Fitting out Ministry of Education centres with innovative Braille-producing technology and spoken e-books;
-     Making various ICT teaching/learning tutorials available;
-     Encourage eLearning infrastructures;
-     Support autonomy for the elderly;
-     etc.

The second aspect is related to UMIC’s participation at the 2nd Rehabilitation and Accessibility Engineering Meeting (Instituto Politécnico de Beja, 30th November 2006). This meeting continues efforts to bring professionals in Portugal together to further Rehabilitation Engineering in Portugal. One of the event’s main objectives is to discuss the creation of the Portuguese Rehabilitation and Accessibility Engineering Society (SUPERA (site in Portuguese)) and its future direction - a body of seemingly considerable interest for the development of this area.

Last updated ( 16/07/2010 )