UK Disability History Month this year focusses on ‘How far have we come? How far have we to go?’ For disabled people access is now a fundamental human right, as is gaining participation on an equal level with others, regardless of our impairments.
14 million UK citizens are disabled people. Includes all those with mental health issues, neuro-diverse people and those with physical or sensory impairments. There is an immediate duty on all providers of goods, services, transport and employment to make reasonable adjustments. Disabled people have had to police these requirements themselves.
25 years after the Disability Discrimination Act (replaced by the Equality Act 2010) and 11 years since the UK Government ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Convention, the answer is not nearly far enough. Access is a Human Right according to UNCRPD Article 9.
The Government ratified the United Nations the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2009). Article 9 stipulates, “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 communication including information and communication technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. These measures shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility.”
It is important that accessibility is addressed in all its complexity, encompassing the physical environment, transportation, information and communication, and services. As long as goods, products and services are open or provided to the public, they must be accessible to all, regardless of whether they are owned or provided by a public authority or a private enterprise.
In the 11th year UK Disability History Month is focusing on Access and asking the questions ‘How far have we come? How far have we to go?’ For disabled people access is now a fundamental human right, as is gaining participation on an equal level with others, regardless of our impairments. Disabled people have struggled for many years to change society’s lived physical and information environment.
UKDHM have hosted an online launch to this month with a video which can be found here: https://ukdhm.org/ukdhm-2020-online-launch/