12-year old Rafah practices reading Braille in her family's shelter in Fayda tented settlement, in the Bekaa Valley (Lebanon, 2014). Photo © UNHCR/Andrew McConnell

Eye conditions are remarkably common. The World Health Organization estimates that globally 36 million people live with blindness and 216 million people have moderate to severe visual impairment. 

Persons with vision impairment are more likely than those without to experience higher rates of poverty and disadvantage. Not meeting their needs, or fulfilling their rights, has wide-reaching consequences: vision loss often represents a lifetime of inequality, poorer health, and barriers to education and employment.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted in 2006, has advanced the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities. The Convention considers Braille essential for education, freedom of expression and opinion, access to information and social inclusion. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in 2015, further pledges that no one will be left behind in the aim to ensure that all human beings can enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives.

In November 2018 (Resolution A/RES/73/161), the General Assembly decided to proclaim 4 January as World Braille Day, recognizing that the full realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms relies on an inclusive written promotion.