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UN Programme on Disability   Working for full participation and equality


Article 9 - Accessibility

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Disability-specific instruments


Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities
Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, forty-eighth session, resolution 48/96, annex, of 20 December 1993


Rule 5 Accessibility

States should recognize the overall importance of accessibility in the process of the equalization of opportunities in all spheres of society. For persons with disabilities of any kind, States should (a) introduce programmes of action to make the physical environment accessible; and (b) undertake measures to provide access to information and communication.

Access to the physical environment

o States should initiate measures to remove the obstacles to participation in the physical environment. Such measures should be to develop standards and guidelines and to consider enacting legislation to ensure accessibility to various areas in society, such as housing, buildings, public transport services and other means of transportation, streets and other outdoor environments.

o States should ensure that architects, construction engineers and others who are professionally involved in the design and construction of the physical environment have access to adequate information on disability policy and measures to achieve accessibility.

o Accessibility requirements should be included in the design and construction of the physical environment from the beginning of the designing process.

o Organizations of persons with disabilities should be consulted when standards and norms for accessibility are being developed. They should also be involved locally from the initial planning stage when public construction projects are being designed, thus ensuring maximum accessibility.

Access to information and communication

o Persons with disabilities and, where appropriate, their families and advocates should have access to full information on diagnosis, rights and available services and programmes, at all stages. Such information should be presented in forms accessible to persons with disabilities.

o States should develop strategies to make information services and documentation accessible for different groups of persons with disabilities. Braille, tape services, large print and other appropriate technologies should be used to provide access to written information and documentation for persons with visual impairments. Similarly, appropriate technologies should be used to provide access to spoken information for persons with auditory impairments or comprehension difficulties.

o Consideration should be given to the use of sign language in the education of deaf children, in their families and communities. Sign language interpretation services should also be provided to facilitate the communication between deaf persons and others.

o Consideration should also be given to the needs of people with other communication disabilities.

o States should encourage the media, especially television, radio and newspapers, to make their services accessible.

o States should ensure that new computerized information and service systems offered to the general public are either made initially accessible or are adapted to be made accessible to persons with disabilities.

o Organizations of persons with disabilities should be consulted when measures to make information services accessible are being developed.


World Programme of Action Concerning Disabled Persons

Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, thirty-seventh session, Resolution 37/52 of 3 December 1982

Physical environment

Member States should work towards making the physical environment accessible to all, including persons with various types of disability, as specified in paragraph 8 of this document.

Member States should adopt a policy of observing accessibility aspects in the planning of human settlements, including programmes in the rural areas of developing countries.

Member States are encouraged to adopt a policy ensuring disabled persons access to all new public buildings and facilities, public housing and public transport systems. Furthermore, measures should be adopted that would encourage access to existing public buildings and facilities, housing and transport wherever feasible, especially by taking advantage of renovation.

Member States should encourage the provision of support services to enable disabled persons to live as independently as possible in the community. In so doing, they should ensure that persons with a disability have the opportunity to develop and manage these services for themselves, as is now being done in some countries.

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