COVID-19 Access Now!

May 02, 2020

We are working with the International Disability Alliance to remind the United Nations and the World Health Organization to make their public information on the coronavirus accessible to all.

The WFD has been in dialogue with the WHO since the coronavirus pandemic began.  

  1. We sent a letter to the Secretary General reminding them of their obligations to provide access and offering our support to facilitate access in International Sign.
  2. We have engaged with their media team about this issue, who understand the importance of sign language access.
  3. We directly asked the Assistant Secretary General in a webinar when the WHO will provide access.  We received confirmation that the WHO recognizes the importance of sign language and access to their briefings, and they will be working on this. 

We’ve waited long enough.  Now it’s time for a public campaign about Covid-19 access!

Please share our campaign video widely with your networks, and use these hashtags: #Covid19Accessibility #SLAccessNow

And go ahead and post your own videos- in your national sign languages and International Sign- explaining why sign language access is important to you.  Let’s spread the word that access is important!   When you post your videos, remember to use these hashtags. This public campaign will show the UN and WHO that our communities are united in demanding accessible information on Covid-19. 

With information on Covid-19 accessible to deaf people and to all peoples with disabilities, we can increase overall public awareness and defeat the coronavirus!

IDA and WFD Access Campaign

Governments and international bodies who do not make their materials accessible via signed languages are imposing an information quarantine on deaf people.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, General Comment No. 7 and the UN Disability Inclusion Strategy all call upon the United Nations and World Health Organization to make their daily briefings, public health materials, and any supporting documents on COVID-19 accessible via International Sign.

The UN, WHO and national governments should incorporate associations of deaf people and organisations of persons with disabilities in their plans to make public health information fully accessible.  With fully accessible information, we can defeat this pandemic!