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Kenya National Commission on Human Rights

Press Statement: Nairobi, Friday, May 19, 2023   For Immediate Release:



  1. Today, the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) joins the rest of the world in commemorating the 2023 Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). Marked on May 19th of every year since 2012, this day draws attention to the need for persons with disabilities to experience web-based services, content and other digital products on an equal basis with others without disabilities.
  1. The KNCHR notes that there are over 1.3 billion people, that is, 16% of the global population, experiencing significant disability worldwide.1 Based on the Kenya Population and Housing Census, 2019, there are 900,000 (2.2%) persons living with some form of disabilities in Kenya.2 These includes those with visual impairment, physical disabilities, hearing impairment, intellectual and psychosocial disabilities and albinism- a category so often left behind in the country’s socio- economic, political and cultural spheres of life.
  1. The advent of the internet, has brought numerous opportunities for individual growth and development. These range from entrepreneurship, online learning, shopping, socialization to exercise of rights such as; freedom of expression amongst many others. However, persons with disabilities encounter obstacles in fully exploiting all these opportunities when accessing web-based technologies.
  1. The KNCHR draws attention to a 2020 study done by a digital inclusion entity, WebAIM, which found that the common causes of web-based home page accessibility failures were attributed to low contrast text, missing image alternate text, empty links, missing form input labels, empty buttons, and missing document language.3
  1. The Commission appreciates that Kenya has made significant progress in entrenching disability inclusion on digital platforms. These includes sign language interpretation and captioning in news broadcasts, considerable number of disability-friendly websites with accessibility tools such as speech narration, large text, zooming capabilities without affecting functionality and others.
  1. The Commission welcomes the Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2023 provision on accessibility to information and communications, and calls for its expeditious enactment into law by Parliament.4
  1. To this end, the Commission calls for realization of disability inclusion, on both public and private digital platforms, for the disability domains below:
    1. Visual impairment: Provision of alternative text descriptions for meaningful images and use of the keyboard instead of a mouse to interact with interactive elements;
    2. Hearing impairment: Closed captioning for video presentations and visual indicators in place of audio cues;
    3. Motor disabilities: Use of alternative keyboards, eye control or other adaptive hardware to help in typing and navigating on devices; and
    4. Cognitive disabilities: use of organized screen, consistent navigation and the use of plain language instead of heavy jargon.
  2. The Commission supports research, design, advancement in technology and development that promotes accessibility and does not leave any one further behind.
  1. In conclusion, as the State’s principal monitoring agency under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the Commission remains committed to entrenching disability inclusion, including access, by persons with disabilities, to information in all accessible formats in line with the provisions of the Constitution of Kenya, all enabling laws and programmes put in place to promote and protect rights of persons with disabilities.


Roseline DA Odede


Kenya National Commission on Human Rights


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