The United Nations is planning to actively include people with disability at all levels of their operations. It’s one thing to have a Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability, but not a good look if the UN itself isn’t leading by example.
UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, said, “Realizing the rights of persons with disabilities is a matter of justice as well as a common-sense investment in our common future”, but “we have a long way to go in changing mindsets, laws and policies to ensure these rights”. Global Accessibility News has more detail on this story. Better late than never.
What is “reasonableness’ in the concept of reasonable accommodation” when it comes to applying accessibility and universal design? Professor Rafael de Asis Roig discusses this philosophical question in the context of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability. He contends that the content of universal accessibility is “constrained by three types of circumstances that could be considered as the bounds for what is necessary, possible and reasonable”.
Universal Design and Reasonable Accommodation
For anyone interested in the debate about reasonableness, and the application of “unjustifiable hardship” rulings by the Australian Human Rights Commission, this article explores reasonableness from different perspectives and concludes,
“Therefore, in accordance with the foregoing, it is possible to have a comprehensive vision about reasonableness in the disability domain. This demand makes it necessary to deem a measure as reasonable in the context of disabilities when:
- It is justified because it adequately provides for full participation in society.
- It shall be deemed as possible, taking into account the state of scientific, technical and human diversity knowledge.
- It shall be deemed as a non-discriminatory differentiation or undifferentiation which is not harmful for physical and moral integrity and at the same time does not prevent from meeting basic needs nor avoids participation in society on an equal basis.
- It shall be deemed as proportional and, therefore, entails more advantages than sacrifices within the context of human rights.
- It shall be deemed as acceptable by the community to which it is addressed.”
The article, Reasonableness in the Concept of Reasonable Accommodation, was published in The Age of Human Rights Journal, 6 (June 2016)
An earlier unpublished article tackles the issues of human rights and “unjustifiable hardship” in the Australian context by Schraner, Bringolf and Sidoti which discusses the issues from an economic perspective. Written in 2012, it pre-dates the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.