Human Rights

chain on books image used for the Marrakesh Treaty Campaign

Strategic Priority 1: Human Rights and Representation

(Priority Leader: Fernando Riaño, WBU 1st Vice President)

The world Blind Union’s main priority is: “Promoting full participation, equal opportunities, and protecting the human rights of persons who are blind or partially sighted in all aspects of social, economic, political and cultural life and ensuring that our voice is heard at the global, regional and national levels in all matters affecting our lives.”

Strategic Objectives:

  1. Representing persons who are blind or partially sighted at the United Nations and relevant UN Agencies and Treaty bodies at the global and regional levels.
  2. Ensuring that the WBU and its members are actively engaged in the implementation and monitoring of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) at both the international and national levels.
  3. Ensuring that the WBU and its members understand the implications and opportunities provided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and proactively engage in their implementation and monitoring process at all levels.
  4. Advocating for and promoting the human rights of blind and partially sighted persons.
  5. Engaging with members, other stakeholders and international development organizations to protect the rights of persons who are blind or partially sighted in situations of disaster, humanitarian emergency or conflict and to ensure that all services and programs are accessible to them.

Implementing the UNCRPD: United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

From The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) can be accessed here.

It is the main international human rights instrument with an explicit, social development dimension that advocates for, promotes and protects the rights of persons with disabilities, that is, approximately 15% of the global population. While this convention is an international instrument, its success in making a difference in the lives of the aforementioned is dependent on the level of national advocacy and proper implementation.

As a leading international organization representing persons with disabilities, we empower and support our members to engage their governments to implement all aspects of the CRPD.  We have both an FAQ sheet: UNCRPD general-WBU FAQ sheet and a toolkit: CRPD Toolkit to assist members to work with their national and local government agencies in order to implement the various aspects of this convention. As more documents become available, we will add these to the website.

The WBU continues to work closely with other International Disabled Persons Organizations through the International Disability Alliance (IDA) , monitoring CRPD progress and sharing successes and concerns with the UN bodies tasked with monitoring the use of the convention in all countries that have ratified the CRPD. We also campaign for disability rights to be a crucial part of the Post 2015 UN development plans to ensure disabled people are not left out of important goals such as universal education or health care.

Members who want to learn more about how they can work with their local government to assist in implementing the CRPD, can contact the WBU office and we will support them with any CRPD concerns they may have.

Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The WBU strives to advocate for inclusive development agenda as per the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We work in partnership with our members and global alliances to push for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. More information on the IDA website.

Marrakesh Treaty Ratification and Implementation Campaign

Reading is a human right, but currently not all people can access books or other reading materials. Over 90% of all published materials cannot be read by blind or print-disabled people, leading to a “book famine.” We need to be able to reproduce published materials into accessible formats, such as braille, large print, and audio editions, to address the book famine, however, current copyright rules within most countries prevents this.

Working with World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the WBU led the international campaign to develop the Marrakesh Treaty that would address the book famine (official treaty name: the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works by Visually Impaired Persons and Persons with Print Disabilities). The Marrakesh Treaty was signed in Morocco on 28 June 2013. To date, it has been ratified by over 80 countries. Read more


Human Rights National Projects

WBU has conducted human rights projects to enhance the advocacy capacity of members at national level. Read more


Human Rights Campaigns 

WBU has initiated and also participated in various global campaigns to promote the rights of persons with disabilities such as the Marrakesh Treaty Campaign. Read more


WBU has been compiling CRPD, SDGs Resources among other human rights resources.  Read more

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