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23 juillet 2012 1 23 /07 /juillet /2012 09:12

“Now is the time”: TACD oral statement at WIPO SCCR24

The future is now, Now is not the time to simply “keep on making progress.”  This SCCR is the time to finish work on a text for a Treaty.


When the issue of the right to read of disabled persons comes out in the open the solutions become much more evident than when it only stays within the walls of the World Intellectual Property Organization.

 

The democratic representatives of the European Union are  in favor of an effective,  binding International Treaty for visually impaired persons and other print disabled. European citizens are overwhelmingly in favor. It seems this is not the case of the EUs representatives here today.

 

EP Parliament Unanimous vote in February 2012 in Strasbourg. Commissioner Michel Barnier committed himself to work for a binding International Treaty, nothing less, as soon as possible. There is a large majority of EU ms in favor of this position and in the near future this will surely become the position of the Council. It is unthinkable and politically unviable to think that EU member states will reject the unanimous position of their own democratic representatives.

 

The EP committee that is monitoring this commitment is the Petitions Committee that last Thursday held a session where MEPs from different political groups strongly pressured the EC and the EU Council to act at WIPO at this  SCCR meeting coherently and to convene a diplomatic conference for the signing of a binding treaty. There exists no legal impediment, according to the EU´s Lisbon Treaty for the EU to ask for TVI to be placed on the agenda of the next GA and for the convening of a diplomatic conference in 2013. Before the DC the EU Council will have ample time to formalize its mandate to seek a Treaty in accordance with the overwhelming demand of its democratic representatives.

 

It would be a democratic travesty if the EUs representatives here today posed any problems to a clear roadmap for a binding international treaty especially by posing unrealistic proposals with regards to authorized entities and other issues very far from consensus positions in WIPO and in clear contradiction with the aims of the World Blind Union.  As far as working hard to reach a treaty agreement text the EUs representative says one thing in Brussels and act in the opposite directions here in Geneva.

 

We agree that delegates should be willing to work nights, Saturday and Sunday to reach a final agreement on a Text to send to the General Assembly. Time is of the essence and it would be a moral failure to leave this SCCR empty handed.

 

Back room deals, rumors, procedural filibusterism, political muscle flexing and futile bilateral discussions are not the best way to progress toward the 2012  WIPO General Assembly decision to convene a diplomatic conference in 2013 with the aim of finally approving an effective, binding Treaty for the Visually Impaired. On the other hand, responsiveness to democratic demands and to the needs of millions of visually impaired and print disabled persons are sufficient grounds to move swiftly toward the approval of a binding treaty. Let´s seize the moment.

 

David Hammerstein, TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue

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