Tool 1: Worldwide Disability Rights Laws
A list of existing disability rights laws from the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund. The website has the texts or abstracts of most of these laws, many with an English translation, or with an English summary. Others may be found on the Internet separately, or may need to be researched in libraries or through the controlling government bodies.
Tool 2: The United Nations Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunity for Persons with Disabilities
The United Nations Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunity for Persons with Disabilities is available in several languages. The Standard Rules are a comprehensive set of standards for countries to institute disability rights and equal opportunity.
From the U.N. website’s introduction to the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunity for Persons with Disabilities:
People with disabilities - as citizens of their societies - should have the same rights and obligations as all other citizens.
There is an increasing awareness by Governments of their obligation to grant equal rights to all of their citizens. It is ultimately the responsibility of all Governments to ensure that disabled people:
- live as dignified and independent a life-style as possible within the community;
- take an active part in the general, social and economic development of society;
- receive education, medical care and social services within the ordinary structures of their societies.
Governments, through their legal system, can protect the rights of persons with disabilities.
Governments can enact laws to guarantee equality and to prevent discrimination. The cost of denying equal opportunities to persons with disabilities is high not only in financial terms, but in the loss of their contribution to society.
A recent trend emphasizes self-care and puts greater emphasis on increased support to the family and community to provide services for persons with disabilities. In many countries, such services continue to be concentrated in the private sector, financed by voluntary contributions. Such programmes are important, but they do not guarantee equal opportunities for disabled people at all levels of society. Governments should provide disabled people with permanent access to basic public services.
The untapped potential of disabled people will be realized only when Governments ensure that equal opportunities are given to all of their citizens.
Equal opportunities enable disabled persons to govern their own lives with self-respect and personal integrity.