Resolution 96-01 equal opportunities of blind women in the wbu



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WORLD BLIND UNION FOURTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY

TORONTO, CANADA

26-30 AUGUST 1996



RESOLUTION 96-01

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES OF BLIND WOMEN IN THE WBU

(The Fourth General Assembly adopted the spirit of this Resolution but decided to refer it to the Executive Committee for further examination and subsequent implementation)


WHEREAS, the World Blind Union (WBU) has now for almost a

decade at one General Assembly after the other adopted resolutions on increased influence for women and has underlined the importance of equality within the organization;


WHEREAS, progressive members of the WBU have adopted similar resolutions;
WHEREAS, regrettably, very little has changed concerning

women's participation within the WBU;


WHEREAS, progress has been shown by the establishment of the

WBU Status of Blind Women's Committee and the seven Regional

Committees on the Status of Blind Women;
WHEREAS, unfortunately, these Committees lack the legislative

power to implement their objectives effectively;


WHEREAS, it is now time to eliminate completely all

discriminatory practices based on gender within the World Blind Union; and


WHEREAS, the proposals listed in this resolution were strongly recommended by the World Blind Women's Forum on 24 August 1996.
This Fourth General Assembly of the World Blind Union in convention assembled in the city of Toronto, Canada, resolves:


  1. that the WBU urge its member organizations to send an equal number of women and men as delegates to the Fifth General Assembly in 2000;



  2. that the Executive following the Fourth WBU General Assembly shall have an equal number of women and men representing each region;




  1. that all Committees following the Fourth WBU General Assembly in 1996 shall have an equal number of women and men;




  1. that necessary constitutional amendments shall be submitted by the Executive to the Fifth WBU General Assembly in 2000;




  1. that the WBU direct its member organizations, the WBU Executive and the WBU Committees to implement an Equal Opportunities policy in all their activities; and




  1. that this resolution is in effect until constitutional amendments to this purpose are enacted and carried out.


RESOLUTION 96-02

AGAINST ARMED CONFLICTS


WHEREAS, unequal status, which is often inflicted on minority

groups such as the blind - and especially to blind and visually impaired women and girls - can be attributed to lack of resources and antiquated attitudes toward gender and disability;


WHEREAS, the paucity of resources available to remedy the

exclusion of these minority groups is a result of investment in anti-human activities such as war;


WHEREAS, the end of the Cold War has not resulted in the

reduction of expenditures on armed and military build-up throughout the world, as an ever-increasing amount of governmental budgets are being expended on military priorities;


WHEREAS, it is well established that war and the employment of

lethal weapons have not only added thousands to the world's blind population but also adversely affected the blind population and especially blind and visually impaired women who have to manage their families with limited means to obtain limited commodities at increased prices resulting from the pressure of the global war economy, which creates tremendous pressure on the blind population and especially on blind women;


WHEREAS, blind women and girls are further deprived of their

basic human rights such as education, health services, employment, and the right to be free from violence due to budgetary misappropriations for war;


WHEREAS, in order to reach their full political, economic,

and social potential and to exercise freedom of expression, mobility, and communication, blind and visually impaired women and girls must claim every available resource;


WHEREAS, to ensure that the voices of blind and visually impaired women are clearly heard in the demand for an end to armed struggle; and
WHEREAS, the proposals listed in this resolution were strongly recommended by the World Blind Women's Forum on 24 August 1996.
This Fourth General Assembly of the World Blind Union in convention assembled in the city of Toronto, Canada, resolves:


  1. that a news release be issued to the global press in which we explain that the continuance of armed conflict is an issue affecting the blind and especially blind women; that we call for the immediate suspension of all armed conflicts so that the resources which have been misappropriated to these conflicts can be redistributed to the ending of human suffering;




  1. that we will forward this resolution to the appropriate United Nations entities to be added to existing documentation, forcefully emphasizing the urgent need of blind people, and especially blind women and girls, for the discontinuation of a war economy which thus far has been sustained by a belief in conquest as a problem-solving strategy; and




  1. that we will circulate this resolution to blind people, and especially to blind women and girls, as a tool to mobilize and focus the opposition to war.


RESOLUTION 96-03

AGAINST EUGENIC IDEOLOGY

WHEREAS, eugenic ideology violates the fundamental human

rights of disabled and non-disabled women and men;
WHEREAS, in many countries, infanticide of babies born blind

or visually impaired goes unchecked;


WHEREAS, we declare it is wrong to murder newborn children

because of blindness or visual impairment; and


WHEREAS, the proposals listed in this resolution were strongly

recommended by the World Blind Women's Forum on 24 August 1996 and the Statement on Eugenics adopted by the WBU Officers meeting in Caracas, Venezuela and by the Executive meeting in Tirrenia, Italy in 1995.


This Fourth General Assembly of the World Blind Union, in convention assembled in the city of Toronto, Canada, resolves:


  1. that we demand that foetuscide and infanticide of blind and visually impaired children must stop immediately;




  1. that we call upon every government in the world to adopt and vigorously enforce laws abolishing and punishing this abhorrent practice; and




  1. that laws must be established to preserve the right of blind and visually impaired women and men to become parents and contribute equally to their communities.

RESOLUTION 96-04

PAIRING OF ORGANIZATIONS OF BLIND WOMEN


WHEREAS, blind women are far more isolated and disadvantaged than are sighted women or blind men;
WHEREAS, for this reason, the World Blind Union should

establish and foster programmes aimed at improving the condition of blind women;


WHEREAS, bilateral, non-governmental, people-to-people

diplomacy has long been recognized as an important international tool for spreading and sharing knowledge and understanding which lead to positive change; and


WHEREAS, the proposals listed in this resolution were strongly recommended by the World Blind Women's Forum on 24 August 1996.
This Fourth General Assembly of the World Blind Union in convention assembled in the city of Toronto, Canada, resolves:


  1. that we urge the World Blind Union to establish and aggressively foster a programme of pairing organizations and groups of blind women in widely separated countries to facilitate sharing of good ideas and leadership training.


RESOLUTION 96-05

LITERACY AND BRAILLE

WHEREAS, the illiteracy rate among blind people - and

especially blind women - is a worldwide scandal;
WHEREAS, this illiteracy locks blind women and men out of most

opportunity and most ways of bettering themselves and contributing to their societies;


WHEREAS, teaching Braille and making Braille available will

stamp out illiteracy; and


WHEREAS, the proposals listed in this resolution were strongly

recommended by the World Blind Women's Forum on 24 August 1996.


This Fourth General Assembly of the World Blind Union in convention assembled in the city of Toronto, Canada, resolves:


  1. that we urge every government to make an immediate commitment to teach blind people (and especially blind women and girls) within its borders to read and write;




  1. that we urge every government to ensure that braille be taught in the school system;




  1. that we insist Braille is the method for achieving literacy; and




  1. that we urge every blind person who knows Braille to make a commitment to giving the gift of literacy to a blind man or woman in the coming year by taking the personal time to teach it.


RESOLUTION 96-06

THE REGIONS AND BRAILLE PRODUCTION

WHEREAS, Braille books and magazines, and materials to produce

Braille are plentiful in some countries and much needed in others;
WHEREAS, the regional structure of the World Blind Union could

easily accommodate transfer of wanted and needed resources;


WHEREAS, small Braille production facilities in every region

could meet some of the demand for Braille;


WHEREAS, each region could also foster collection of surplus books and magazines as well as paper, slates and styluses, and braillers in useable condition;
WHEREAS, depots for Braille should be organized by language,

and regions can cooperate when there are common languages;


WHEREAS, libraries throwing away books and magazines could

give them to such depots;


WHEREAS, countries receiving materials must be integrally involved in decisions to send them materials from a depot; and
WHEREAS, the proposals listed in this resolution were

recommended by the World Blind Women's Forum on 24 August 1996.


This Fourth General Assembly of the World Blind Union in convention assembled in the city of Toronto, Canada, resolves:
A. that we urge the World Blind Union through its regional organizations to foster small Braille production facilities and transfer of resources as already described.


RESOLUTION 96-07

IBSA AND THE INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE

WHEREAS, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has

established the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to organize and manage international sports competitions for persons with disabilities;
WHEREAS, the International Blind Sports Association (IBSA) has

been created to sponsor and support international sports competitions for blind and visually impaired athletes;


WHEREAS, the IBSA has been an integrated part of the IPC;
WHEREAS, the IBSA is the recognized authority in the conduct

of international competitions for blind and visually impaired athletes and has been recognized as such authority by the World Blind Union;


WHEREAS, the IPC has organized international competitions

for athletes with disabilities in a way which isolates blind and visually impaired athletes and discriminates against the blind and visually impaired;


WHEREAS, the protests brought to the IPC by the IBSA have

been summarily disregarded;


WHEREAS, arrangements for the most recent international

competition for athletes with disabilities, held in Atlanta,

Georgia, USA, have diminished opportunities for blind and visually impaired athletes through disregard of the special needs of such athletes, such as the need for information in an accessible form; and
WHEREAS, discrimination against blind and visually impaired

athletes in competition has occurred in a number of other ways.


This Fourth General Assembly of the World Blind Union in convention assembled in the city of Toronto, Canada, resolves:


  1. that we call upon the International Paralympic Committee to cease its discrimination against blind and visually impaired athletes, to adopt the policy and practice of inclusion of blind and visually impaired athletes in competitions, to adopt the policy and practice of permitting international competitions exclusively for blind and visually impaired athletes, and to adopt the policy and practice of taking the special needs of blind and visually impaired athletes into account in planning and conducting international competitions including the need to provide blind and visually impaired athletes with information in accessible form and to recognize the IBSA as the international authority on subjects involving international competitions for blind and visually impaired athletes;




  1. that we call upon the International Olympic Committee to direct the International Paralympic Committee to take these steps with respect to blind and visually impaired athletes; and

  2. that we call upon the International Olympic Committee to withhold all funding from the International Paralympic Committee until such steps for non-discrimination and integration of blind and visually impaired athletes in competition have been adopted.


RESOLUTION 96-08

DISCRIMINATION AND THE STANDARD RULES

WHEREAS, the General Assembly of the World Blind Union notes

with impatience that the improvement of the situation of the blind and visually impaired is, in most countries, non-existent, and in others, very slow;
WHEREAS, unemployment among blind and visually impaired

persons is many times higher than among others;


WHEREAS, large numbers of blind and visually impaired persons are denied education and are excluded from almost every kind of printed information;
WHEREAS, the United Nations, in recognition of the

disadvantaged social and economic situation in which blind and visually impaired people continue to live and in recognition that such conditions are caused by discriminatory attitudes and policies, adopted the Standard Rules on the Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities in the United Nations General Assembly in December in 1993 resolution number 48/96; and


WHEREAS, the Standard Rules are not compulsory and some

governments have introduced these rules as policy guidelines with positive results; however, a significant number of governments are not willing to adopt and implement them.


This Fourth General Assembly of the World Blind Union in convention assembled in the city of Toronto, Canada, resolves:


  1. to urge every government to introduce measures to forbid discrimination in all its forms against persons with disabilities;




  1. to encourage the appropriate initiatives by the United Nations, in order to convert the Standard Rules into an International Convention to be signed by all national governments;




  1. to develop and implement action plans with the aim to influence governments who have not adopted the Standard Rules; and




  1. to encourage UN agencies to increase funding for projects for equalisation of opportunities for people with blindness and disabilities.


RESOLUTION 96-09

IMPROVEMENT OF SERVICES FOR BLIND WOMEN AND GIRLS

WHEREAS, many blind girls and women throughout the world have

little or no access to education, rehabilitation, health services, and vocational opportunities;
WHEREAS, this lack of training and skills and access dooms

many blind women to hopeless, useless lives;


WHEREAS, with proper services, these same blind women can be

workers and mothers and executives and contributors to their societies;


WHEREAS, many blind women want to and can add expertise and

strength to their societies; and


WHEREAS, the proposals listed in this resolution were strongly recommended by the World Blind Women's Forum on 24 August 1996.
This Fourth General Assembly of the World Blind Union in convention assembled in the city of Toronto, Canada, resolves:


  1. that we urge the government of every nation to provide immediately those services needed by blind and low vision girls and women to become competent, contributing members of their societies; and




  1. That we urge the decision-makers of every government specifically to include funds for these necessary services in their planning and budget allocation.


RESOLUTION 96-10

SPECIALIZED SCHOOLS

WHEREAS, in general, schools for the blind have a rich and

distinguished history in providing education to blind children and youths; and
WHEREAS, these schools are essential if there is to be an array of placement options, based on individual needs, for children.
This Fourth General Assembly of the World Blind Union in convention assembled in the city of Toronto, Canada, resolves:


  1. that World Bling Union supports specialized schools for the blind as an integral and necessary placement option in order to guarantee a free and appropriate education for blind children and youths around the world.


RESOLUTION 96-11

ELECTRONIC AND HARD COPY BOOKS

WHEREAS, it has been recognized that computer related technology has brought about significant benefits to the lives of many blind people;


WHEREAS, we support organizations and any other entities

engaged in the development, promotion, or distribution of electronic books; and


WHEREAS, we believe that the tremendous potential available

through the production of electronic books may be lost or diminished without regular consultation with blind persons and educators of blind people.


This Fourth General Assembly of the World Blind Union in convention assembled in the city of Toronto, Canada, resolves:


  1. that current electronic formats should never be viewed as a viable substitute for hard copy braille and that systems need to be developed both nationally and internationally to insure compatibility of format and the free interchange of book files.


RESOLUTION 96-12

SPECIFIC REHABILITATION SERVICES

WHEREAS, it is the common experience of organizations of and

for the blind in the United States that specialized, comprehensive rehabilitation services and essential changes in social attitudes about blindness do not occur when rehabilitation services for the blind are provided through a single programme which serves both blind and disabled persons;
WHEREAS, the accomplishment of individual rehabilitation goals

can be achieved in an efficient, consumer responsive manner when blind people have access to an agency dedicated to providing blindness-specific services; and


WHEREAS, when services for the blind are submerged into broad

disability programmes, precision is sacrificed for generality, and comprehensive, consumer-responsive services for blind individuals is lost.


This Fourth General Assembly of the World Blind Union in convention assembled in the city of Toronto, Canada, resolves:


  1. That the World Blind Union supports the concept of a separate service delivery system and organizational structure for blind people in order to maximize the success of blind persons served by rehabilitation agencies.

RESOLUTION 96-13

DIGITAL TELEVISION

WHEREAS, television plays an important role for education

and social and cultural integration and is the most popular pastime of visually impaired people;
WHEREAS, visually impaired people miss out on crucial

information due to the high visual content of television programmes;


WHEREAS, audio description (a narration describing action,

body language, facial expression and scenery) already enables thousands of visually impaired people to enjoy television in some countries;


WHEREAS, national surveys show that the vast majority of

visually impaired people want and need audio description of television programmes;


WHEREAS, article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human

Rights recognises the right of everyone to take part in the cultural life of the community and to benefit from scientific advancements;


WHEREAS, in some countries broadcasting legislation already

recognises the right of visually impaired people to enjoy television with audio description;

WHEREAS, the advent of digital television (which will make

many more channels available) provides a technical solution for the transmission and reception of audio description; and


WHEREAS, digital receivers must be easily usable by visually

impaired people in order for digital television to be accessible to them.


This Fourth General Assembly of the World Blind Union in convention assembled in the city of Toronto, Canada, resolves:


  1. to call on broadcasting legislators to recognise the right of visually impaired people to enjoy television and to dedicate a portion of digital transmission capacity to the audio description sound as and when digital television is being introduced;




  1. to call on broadcasters to make a commitment to their visually impaired audiences to introduce audio description services as soon as a method for the transmission of the audio description sound becomes available; and




  1. to call on the cooperation of receiver manufacturers to incorporate the needs of blind and partially sighted people into the design of digital receivers.


RESOLUTION 96-14

WORKING GROUP ON POLICY FORMULATION

WHEREAS, the most important task of the WBU is to fight for

the interests of visually impaired with the aim of influencing politicians and other controllers of resources; and
WHEREAS, visually impaired people's experiences, aspirations

and priorities must be clearly expressed to enable those responsible to act adequately.


This Fourth General Assembly of the World Blind Union in convention assembled 1996, in the city of Toronto, Canada, resolves:


  1. That at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the WBU needs to form a strategy in order to strengthen the Union in political as well as in organizational matters;




  1. That this work on strategy must result in a programme for the future;




  1. That the Executive Committee appoint a Working Group with the task of formulating a programme of policy related to the goals of equality and full participation as stated in the constitution of the WBU, Article II, section 1; and




  1. That said working group is given the task of formulating strategies to strengthen the position of organizations formed by the visually impaired themselves within the WBU.

RESOLUTION 96-15

PRIORITY OF BLIND YOUTH WORK

WHEREAS, young people are the future and to promote youth work within the blind organizations is, therefore, of great importance;


WHEREAS, in all WBU regions there are today many young people

working actively; and


WHEREAS, to support this work and to give young visually impaired people all over the world a forum where they can exchange experiences and views is necessary.
This Fourth General Assembly of the World Blind Union in convention assembled in the city of Toronto, Canada, resolves:


  1. that the World Blind Union takes youth work up as a priority area and shall find suitable ways to manage a constructive cooperation between young visually impaired youth in the world.


RESOLUTION 96-16

VOTE OF THANKS

WHEREAS, the hospitable people of Canada and the generosity

and efficiency of the Board, staff, volunteers and supporters of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, led by its Chairman, Mr. F. Garrick Homer, together with the Canadian Council of the Blind have contributed greatly to the outstanding success of this Fourth General Assembly of the World Blind Union, and have ensured its enjoyment by delegates and other participants;
WHEREAS, all Delegates were very honoured and inspired by

honorary patronage and participation of His Excellency The Right Honourable Romeo LeBlanc, Governor General of Canada;


WHEREAS, the Chairman of the International Organizing

Committee, Dr. Euclid Herie, and his colleagues; the International Programme Committee led by Dr. Rodolfo Cattani; the Host Cabinet led by Gary Magarrell; the President, and the Secretary General and his staff, have worked tirelessly to arrange and host the Assembly;


WHEREAS, many delegates have been greatly assisted in their

mobility and communication, to ensure their full participation in the Assembly, by the skill and dedication of personal guides and interpreters;


WHEREAS, all participants of the Fourth General Assembly and the World Blind Women's Forum of the WBU gratefully acknowledge the tremendous generosity and support of the sponsors, and the consistent and friendly help of hotel staff;
WHEREAS, Mr. Robert A. Elton and his outstanding group of

staff and volunteers have helped to make all participants feel at home, and have taken care of their every need to maximise their comfort and operating efficiency; and


WHEREAS, the Assembly, convened under the theme of "The World

Blind Union In Action: Changing What It Means To Be Blind" was preceded by the first-ever World Blind Women's Forum, an event which was the culmination of a four-year programme that must surely rate as the greatest single global initiative ever undertaken to benefit women with disabilities.


This Fourth General Assembly of the World Blind Union in convention assembled in the city of Toronto, Canada, resolves:


  1. To place on record its deep appreciation and sincere thanks to all those whose hard work made this Assembly such a significant event; and




  1. To acknowledge and pay tribute to the leadership, to the dedication to their work, and to their love for blind people in all countries of the world, shown, throughout the past four years, by: President, David Blyth; Immediate Past President, Sir Duncan Watson; Secretary General, Pedro Zurita; Treasurer, Euclid Herie; Vice-President, Rodolfo Cattani; the seven WBU Regional Presidents; and Chairpersons of the Standing Committees, specially, the Chairperson of the Committee on the Status of Blind Women, Kicki Nordstrom.


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