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Around 1.4 million children under age 15 are blind. Yet approximately half of all childhood blindness can be avoided by treating diseases early and by correcting abnormalities at birth such as cataract and glaucoma. (WHO)
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Braille labelled food products

In June 2011, members of CBM's EU Liaison Office assisted in gathering parliamentarians' signatures on a written declaration calling for labelling of food and industrial products in Braille. 447 parliamentarians signed the declaration, making it the most successful of the current parliamentary term.

Written declaration

The written declaration no. 14, proposed by Members of the European Parliament (MEP. Konstantinos Poupakis, Richard Howitt, Ádám Kósa, Eva Lichtenberger and Cecilia Wikström), calls on the European Community to take concrete action to support the inclusion of people with visual impairments in society. Specifically, it calls upon the Commission and private companies to label food and industrial products in Braille.

This declaration would be in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by the European Union, as well as the articles 21 and 26 of the European Charter on Human rights. It also recalls the principle of equality, which is one of the core values of the European Union, and furthermore, it underlines the need of ensuring the existence of alternative formats for those who are not Braille readers.

Many signatories

Three women holding documents, one is blind ©CBM
The team gathering signatures in the European Parliament
The written declaration was signed by 447 parliamentarians making it the most successful of the current parliamentary term. Together with the European Blind Union (EBU) CBM contributed to gathering these signatures by knocking on MEP’s doors.

Support for this declaration came from across the political spectrum. Parliamentarians were most convinced by the argument that medical products in Europe are labelled in Braille so that customers who are blind can make their own choices independently. Food Shopping is a daily life activity and we need to make sure that each and every member of our society can enjoy maximum independence in performing it. 

Creating an inclusive society

This simple action underlines once more the support of the European Parliament towards the creation of a more inclusive society. Its implementation would greatly improve the quality of life of people with visual impairments, and be another crucial step towards the equal access to information for all.


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