Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), People with Functional Limitations (PFLs), and the Elderly, face daily challenges and barriers in different sectors, especially the ICT field, which result in their exclusion accessing and using digital technologies, limiting therefore their access to diverse online services, educational opportunities as well as employment.
At the global level, it is recognized that accessibility is essential for individuals and organizations towards removing barriers hindering access to ICTs, and creating high-quality products and services that are as far as possible, universally accessible and usable by a large spectrum of users.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development highlights the pivotal role and the significant potential of ICTs to bridge the digital divide and to support the development of inclusive Knowledge Societies. Accordingly, the 2030 Agenda has required United Nations member states to promote access for persons with disabilities to ICTs.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities UNCRPD, to which Qatar is a signatory, recognizes accessibility as a human right and requires signatories to adopt appropriate measures for access for persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others to ICTs, emergency services and Internet services.
The Ministry of Transport and Communication in Qatar introduced the national e-Accessibility policy to make ICT more accessible for persons with disabilities. The policy is aimed at ensuring that people with disabilities in Qatar have equal access to the technologies that can enrich their lives, and covered a range of e-Accessibility issues, including websites, telecommunications services, handsets, ATMs, government services, education, access to assistive technologies and digital content.
ICTQATAR’s Strategy ICT2015 commits the nation to developing an ICT-skilled population whose members share equal access to technology and can succeed in a knowledge economy. This effort includes the prioritization of disadvantaged demographic groups, especially women, retirees and people with disabilities.