The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities marked a “paradigm shift” in attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities are no longer treated or viewed as objects of charity in need of social protection. The CRPD determined persons of disabilities as subjects with rights and the capability of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent, as well as being active members of society.
According to the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Convention “is intended as a human rights instrument with an explicit, social development dimension. It adopts a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and reaffirms that all persons with all types of disabilities must enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms. It clarifies and qualifies how all categories of rights apply to persons with disabilities and identifies areas where adaptations have to be made for persons with disabilities to effectively exercise their rights and areas where their rights have been violated, and where protection of rights must be reinforced.”
We created the original International Symbol of Access in 1969
By the late 1960s, as the disability movement grew, the need for a symbol to designate accessible facilities was being discussed in a number of countries. Different access symbols had already popped up in France, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. As former RI Global Secretary-General Norman Acton recalled, “several of us could see a messy situation developing with multiple symbols – so there was some urgency.”
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