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International Council on English Braille reaffirms the importance of braille during times of pandemic and international crises

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October 25, 2021 -- The International Council on English Braille (ICEB) underscores the importance for governments and organizations to ensure that information shared with the public during times of pandemic and international crises is made equitable and accessible to those who use braille. Braille is literacy. Braille signage, elevator buttons, restaurant menus, and information in braille about health and other services provide equal access to information and are essential for millions of people who are blind, deafblind, or who have low vision. The pandemic has served as a critical reminder of the need to improve equitable access to information during times of international crises, when those who read braille are too often left behind. Moreover, measures to ensure timely access to accessible information are highlighted in articles 11 and 21 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), now ratified in 182 countries: http://www.un.org/disabilities/documents/convention/crpd_english.doc

ICEB calls upon governments and organizations to review their emergency preparedness plans to ensure that measures to provide timely access to information, including information in braille and tactile graphics, are put in place and remain a priority. Resources on the process for producing accessible information in braille can be obtained from a country’s braille authority. A list of braille authorities for English-Speaking countries can be found at www.iceb.org

The International Council on English Braille (ICEB) was formed in 1991 and provides a forum for international cooperation among those countries that use English-language braille by assisting countries to establish standard-setting bodies in relation to braille codes and practices; working towards the development and adoption of international minimum standards for the production and teaching of braille; and facilitating the exchange of braille materials between member countries. Its members currently include braille authorities from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. To learn more about ICEB, visit http://www.iceb.org or write to info@iceb.org.

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Page content last updated: October 26, 2021.