POLICY, LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK AND NATIONAL STRATEGY A PAPER PRESENTED BY KENYA LAW REFORM COMMISSION (KLRC) AT LAICO REGENCY IN THE WORKSHOP ON e-ACCESSIBILITY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES 1.0 Introduction There is a common misconception which has it that e-accessibility refers to commonly used ICT appliances like computers and mobile phones mainly. E-accessibility is broader and it encapsulates the interaction between a user and any electronic gadget which gives specific information to the user either automatically or on demand by the user. Some of these devises may include but not limited to microwaves, televisions and radios, traffic lights, money detectors, ATM machines, product dispensers, weighing machines to mention but a few. Legislative Framework International Law and policy UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by Kenya on the 19th May 2008 International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation, 1958, (No. 111).Ratified, May 2001. ILO Convention Concerning Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons), 1983, (No. 159), ratified, 27 March 1990. East African Policy on persons with Disabilities National legislation and policies The Constitution of Kenya The Persons with Disabilities Act, No. 14 of 2003 The Persons with Disabilities (Amendment) Bill, 2011 The Persons with Disabilities (access to employment, services and facilities) Regulations, 2009. International Laws and policy 1.UN Convention on rights of persons with disabilities • Article 1 defines Persons with disabilities • Article 9 on Accessibility provides that state parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure; private entities that offer facilities and services to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities training for stakeholders on accessibility issues with respect to the disabled. promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and technologies communication 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 20 on Personal mobility - state parties shall encourage entities that produce mobility aids. •Article 21 on Freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information – state parties shall ensure that persons with disabilities can exercise the right to freedom of expression and opinion through all forms of communication of their choice. •Article 29 on Participation in political and public life requires that voting procedures, facilities and materials are to be accessible and easy for the disabled to understand and use. 2. The East African Policy on Persons with Disabilities. According to Article 120 (c) of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community, the partner states undertook to co-operate in the field of social welfare especially marginalized groups ,i.e. persons with disabilities. It advocates of persons with disabilities to enable them effectively participate in the development initiatives. 3. International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation, 1958. Article 5(2) provides that the party states may after consulting with workers organizations may determine the use of special measures to meet particular needs of persons with disabilities. 4. ILO Convention Concerning Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (Disabled Persons), 1983. It advocates for member states to formulate and implement a national policy on vocational rehabilitation and employment of disabled persons to ensure they secure and advance in suitable employment and therefore integrate into society. National Legislation 1. The Constitution of Kenya •Article 35 provides that every citizen has a right of access to information • Article 54 provides that a person with any disability has a right to reasonably access all information • Article 2(5) provides that the general rules of international law shall form part of the Kenyan Law. • Article 2(6) states that any treaty or convention ratified by Kenya shall form part of that law of Kenya. 2. Persons with Disabilities Act •Section 12, on employment •(1); “No person shall deny a person with a disability access to opportunities for suitable employment.” •Section 21 on accessibility and mobility - assistive devices and other equipment to promote their mobility •Section 11 on realization of rights provides that the government shall take steps to achieving the full realization rights of persons with. •Section 39 on television stations •Section 40 on telephone services 3. The persons with disabilities (access to employment, services and facilities), regulations, 2009 •Clause 9(5) - institutions of higher learning shall provide to learners with disabilities ; computer files or electronic versions of printed instructional materials; video materials. •Clause 3(1)- the government shall promote public awareness about the rights of persons with disabilities 4. The Persons with disabilities (Amendment) Act –,amends the definition of “disability” to reflect the definition under the convention. 5. The National Disability Policy 2007- emphasizes on providing equal opportunities and access to services for persons with disabilities. 6. Information, Communication & Technology Draft Policy -policy recognizes the significant role of I.C.T in the educating people. 7. The Special Needs Education Policy, 2008 focuses on providing end-users with information, communication and technological support services to facilitate ICT capacity building Gaps in the Policy and legislative framework The policies discussed do not sufficiently address the issue of eaccessibility with regard to persons with disabilities. The concept of e-accessibility is missing in national documents which spearhead national strategies like the vision 2030. These gaps are promoted by the non involvement of people with disabilities, as the famous quote states “Nothing about us without us” Recommendations There legislations and policies should be reviewed to ensure they capture they sufficiently address the issue of e-accessibility. The government should endeavor to strengthen capacity for organizations dealing with the disabled to enable them understand and disseminate all the relevant information about e-accessibility. Internet service providers should adopt and use user friendly websites. The government should give tax incentives to importers of adaptive technology that make e-accessibility easier to persons with disabilities. Common products used by the public should come inbuilt with the necessary adjustments to ensure e-accessibility e.g. microwaves There should be a government national initiative to create awareness to persons with disabilities and the public on e-accessibility products. The government should put in all intersections in cities the facilities which assist especially the deaf and the blind to cross the road. The government should encourage public private partnerships to ensure a sustained exchange on information between the public and private sectors.