(30 September 2016) Three years and three months after it was signed, the Treaty of Marrakesh enters into force today. It is a time to celebrate a major advance in the struggle to give people with visual impairments equal access to knowledge.
As Karen Keninger, Chair of the IFLA Section on Libraries serving People with Disabilities (LPD) has said:
Access to information in all its forms is critical to participation in work, community, civil society, family and all other aspects of life. For all of human history, people who are blind, visually impaired or have print disabilities have faced nearly insurmountable barriers to the world’s knowledge in written form. The results have been profound, leaving them marginalized in every sphere of human endeavor.
As the Marrakesh treaty comes into force today, those barriers to access will begin to erode. Increased access to information will provide new opportunities for work, for civil engagement, and participation in community and family life at all levels.
It is also an occasion to thank all of those – IFLA members and others – who invested so much time and effort, often in the face of tough opposition, to make it happen. And finally, it is an opportunity to think ahead, and plan for the extensive work still needed to make a reality of the Treaty’s promise.
IFLA is therefore both looking back and looking forwards. Looking back, a new timeline sets out the process that led to the Treaty’s entry into force today, and the significant role played by libraries. Looking forward, a new page sets out the basics of the Treaty, and will host future materials and links to information about implementation. We are looking forward to adding to this.
The announcement is here.