Are all newly constructed buildings, to which there is public access, required by law to be accessible to all persons with disabilities?

Explanation

Accessibility should be based on widely known and respected sets of criteria. This ensures both that it meets the interest of all persons with disabilities, and that it conforms to the highest standards. And it refers not only to the built environment itself but also to signage in Braille and in easy to read and understand forms. Buildings to which there is public access include not only municipal buildings, but also, for example, cinemas, supermarkets, banks, schools, shops, sport and leisure facilities (e.g. museums) etc. What remedies exists if the law is contravened? If there is no legislation, is it planned?

In detail

Summary

81% of responses reported that all newly constructed buildings are either fully or partially required by law to be accessible to persons with disabilities. The main issues observed were:

  • A lack of enforcement on building regulations mainly due to an absence of implementation mechanisms and sanctions
  • A reliance on non-state actors to monitor the accessibility of newly constructed buildings
  • Regional disparities in the enforcement of the legislations
  • Enforcement of the laws are only done partially, leading to having accessible paths only in public buildings, building entrances, which are often limited to the accessibibility of persons with physical disabilities
Comments

“Legislation is in place however the implementation is not by system itself. The progress of implementation depends on the advocacy movement by the organizations of PWDs and their allies. If there is no advocacy movement for disability rights, there is no progress of socialization and implementation.” (Sunarman Sukamto, Director, CBR Development and Training Center (CBR_DTC), Solo, Indonesia)

“Even though the legislation covers all newly constructed buildings to which there is public access and covers all disabilities, the signage in Braille and easy-to-read and understand forms are not covered by it.” (Zvonko Shavreski, President, Polio Plus – movement against disability, member of DPI, Macedonia)

CRPD Article

Article 9- Accessibility

“1. To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia:

a) Buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces;

b) Information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services.

2. States Parties shall also take appropriate measures:

a) To develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public;

b) To ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities;

c) To provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing persons with disabilities;

d) To provide in buildings and other facilities open to the public signage in Braille and in easy to read and understand forms;

e) To provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including guides, readers and professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other facilities open to the public;

f) To promote other appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons with disabilities to ensure their access to information;

g) To promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet;

h) To promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost.”

(UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities)