IFLA has addressed a letter to the Colombian government, welcoming progress on passing laws to enable access to information with people with disabilities, and urging the inclusion of libraries in the implementation process.

Over 100 countries are already covered by the Marrakesh Treaty, agreed in 2013, which works to remove unnecessary barriers to making and sharing copies of books and other materials in formats that are accessible for people with print disabilities.

Colombia is set to join them, with progress on national legislation which will make the Treaty’s provisions a reality in national law.

As attention turns to implementation, it will be essential – as in every country – to make the most of libraries as ‘authorised entities’ – institutions enabled to make and share accessible format copies of works on behalf of people with disabilities, known as beneficiaries.

It is for this reason that IFLA has sent a letter welcoming progress so far, but urging the Colombian government to ensure that libraries are classed as authorised entities, in line with the Treaty itself. This will make it possible to offer support to beneficiaries locally, as well as complying with obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to offer equal services.  

Furthermore, in the letter, IFLA underlines the importance of introducing a broad definition of beneficiaries (as many other countries have done), taking robust steps to protect the privacy of people with disabilities, and drawing on the capacity of the national library to manage a information about accessible format works.

We look forward to seeing an effective implementation of the Marrakesh Treaty in Colombia, helping to deliver on the right of all to access to information.

Download the letter from IFLA President Christine Mackenzie as a pdf.