Reaching the most vulnerable: proposed supplement to the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities [Annex E/CN.5/2004/4]
G. Communication issues
1. Information and communication technology
Information and communication technologies and infrastructures are rapidly growing in importance in the provision of information and services to the population. These technologies must therefore be made accessible and their great potential to assist and support persons with disabilities must be utilized.
States should ensure that information and communication technologies and service systems offered to the general public are either made initially accessible or adapted to be made accessible to persons with disabilities. It is also important to create opportunities for special training courses as well as access to affordable equipment and software and to distance learning through these technologies for persons with disabilities.
States should consider presenting accessibility and usability standards and guidelines as a precondition for public funding and recognize public procurement as a tool to achieve accessibility.
States should initiate the development and use of special technical and legal arrangements to make information and communication technologies accessible to persons with disabilities.
2. Sign language
During the 1990s an increasing number of States recognized sign language as the main means of communication for deaf people. In view of the decisive importance of sign language in the personal development of deaf people, such recognition must be encouraged worldwide.
States should recognize sign language as a natural language and as the medium of communication among deaf people. It should be used in the education of deaf children, in their families and in the communities.
Sign language interpretation services should be provided to facilitate communication between deaf persons and others.
3. Other communication needs
Consideration should be given to the needs of people with other communication disabilities, such as the speech-impaired, the hard-of-hearing, the deaf-blind and persons with developmental and psychiatric disabilities, who require specific forms of assistance. 50. In addition to information and communication technologies, special assistive devices and interpreter services may be needed.