Physical Accessibility

Physical accessibility to healthcare, education, job training programs, other public services and community spaces is often seen as a first step towards broader accessibility for landmine survivors. Yet it is necessary to recognize that physical accessibility itself is reliant on many other factors and is a multidimensional issue.

Accessibility in the Mine Ban Treaty is about enabling mine survivors and other persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, by ensuring equal access to the physical environment, services, communications and information, and identifying and eliminating obstacles and barriers to accessibility. To ensure high quality standards, availability and accessibility of services it is essential that specific programmes are implemented in the areas of emergency and continuing medical care, physical rehabilitation, psychological and psychosocial support, education and socioeconomic reintegration to facilitate a holistic approach.

Article 9 of the CRPD  specifies appropriate measures to be taken to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, and to other facilities and services; both in urban and in rural areas.

Following are resources and standards on physical accessibility:

Accessibility Design Guide: Universal design principles for Australia’s aid program provides guidance on enabling people with disability to participate equally in social and economic life through the design and implementation of development initiatives. This guide is a rich resource of ideas which development practitioners can consider when applying universal design. AusAID, 2013.

 Accessibility Standards – Uganda. Accessibility Standards developed by Uganda National Action on Physical Disability (UNAPD) in conjunction with Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development. UNAPD, 2010.

Accessibility for the Disabled: A Design Manual for a Barrier Free Environment. This manual was prepared by the Urban Management Department of the Lebanese Company for the Development and Reconstruction of Beirut Central District (SOLIDERE) in collaboration with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and with the approval of the Ministry of Social Affairs and the National Committee for the Disabled.

ISO 21542:2011, specifies a range of requirements and recommendations for many of the elements of construction, assemblies, components and fittings which comprise the built environment. These requirements relate to the constructional aspects of access to buildings, to circulation within buildings, to egress from buildings in the normal course of events and evacuation in the event of an emergency. It also deals with aspects of accessibility management in buildings. International Organization for Standardization (ISO), 2012.

Access to services for persons with disabilities in challenging environments; and How to design and promote an environment accessible to all? This policy paper defines accessibility and presents the operational strategy of Handicap International in this area. It details types of intervention, targeted objectives and activities, as well as providing tools and a bibliography for reference. This policy paper is useful for organisations, programmes and projects that are interested in accessibility issues. Handicap International (HI), 2009.  HI also produced set of manuals on How to build an accessible environment: Introduction and Accessibility Standards, Open Washing Areas and Waterpoints, and Free Movement.

Inclusive water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for People with Disabilities. People with a disability represent the largest socially excluded group globally and most live without access to basic sanitary services, which can exacerbate impairments and poverty.  This reviews the WASH needs of people living with disabilities, discusses processes to identify communities’ access needs and introduces the adaptive technologies available for WASH projects. WaterAid, 2011.

WASH and Disabilities, WashPlus.

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