Disability Laws Are Not Just a U.S. Thing

In Americans with Disabilities Act, laws on February 22, 2013 at 5:14 pm

So many things have happened in the last couple of weeks, it’s hard to pick one to write about.  But today I think I’ll talk about accessibility and disability laws.  I find that some in the U.S. believe the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) law is unique.  Certainly it’s the law that pertains to the U.S., but there are other countries that have similar laws.

Cutest service animal EVER. (Photo from We Connect Now blog)

Cutest service animal EVER. (Photo from We Connect Now blog)

Rather than try to list other country’s laws (because I would surely miss some), check out this excellent site, Academic Network of European Disability Professionals.  This site has great “country profiles” on various European countries regarding disabilities.  The information is a little, uh, academic in nature (didn’t that sounds better than dry or boring as synonyms…I mean, adjectives?).  But to be fair, they warn us about this in the title of the organization.

I was also very encouraged to hear of a conference held on February 14, 2013 in Milan, Italy on “Accessibility in tourism: an ethical value, a business opportunity.”  The focus on accessibility as an ethical obligation (rather than just a legal one) appeals to me.  After all, disability law is really just another anti-discrimination law.

The United National World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has also made this area a tourism priority.  Article 7 of the UNWTO Global Code of Ethics for Tourism alludes to making tourism accessible as well as sustainable and responsible.

Over a billion people (that’s billion with a B, folks) in the world have a disability of some kind according to the World Health Organization.  That’s a lot of tourists, prospective customers, meeting attendees, event spectators.  That’s a lot of people to be discriminated against if accessibility needs aren’t planned for.

Serious food for thought.

Be safe.


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