The international Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities enters into force May 3, 2008. Among the principles are full and effective participation and inclusion in society; equality of opportunity; and accessibility (Article 3). The definition of communication includes accessible information and communication technology. A purpose of the treaty is to promote universal design in the development of standards and guidelines (Article 4); and to ensure that laws protecting intellectual property rights do not constitute an unreasonable or discriminatory barrier to access by persons with disabilities to cultural materials (Article 30). Articles 9 and 21 detail some of these rights:
Article 9 Accessibility
... ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, ... to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems ... including electronic services and emergency services ...
(f) ensure ... access to information;
(g) promote access new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet;
(h) promote the design, development, production and distribution
of accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost.
Article 21 Freedom of expression and opinion, and access
... right to freedom of expression and opinion, including the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas on an equal basis with others and through all forms of communication of their choice, including by:
(a) Providing information intended for the general public to persons with disabilities in accessible formats and technologies appropriate to different kinds of disabilities in a timely manner and without additional cost;
(c) Urging private entities that provide services to the general public, including through the Internet, to provide information and services in accessible and usable formats for persons with disabilities;
(d) Encouraging the mass media, including providers of information through the Internet, to make their services accessible to persons with disabilities;
Selectively excerpted for People Who www.peoplewho.org from http://www.un.org/disabilities/documents/convention/convoptprot-e.pdf