In an increasingly digital world, the accessibility of websites has become a critical focal point for lawmakers. In this article, we delve into the United States national laws and international laws pertaining to accessibility for people with disabilities. From the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we will explore the legal frameworks designed to foster an inclusive online environment.
Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. While efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy and currency of the information, laws and regulations are subject to change, and the content may not reflect the most up-to-date legal standards. This article does not substitute for the counsel of a qualified attorney who can provide tailored advice based on the specifics of your situation. Readers are encouraged to consult with legal professionals for guidance on their individual circumstances and to seek up-to-date legal information from authoritative sources. The author and publisher disclaim any liability for actions taken or not taken based on the content of this article.
Table of Contents
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons – 1975
- African Charter on Human and People’s Rights – 1981
- The Americans with Disabilities Act – 1990
- Inter-American Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities – 1999
- Ontarians with Disabilities Act – 2001
- United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) – 2006
- Charter on the Fundamental Rights of the European Union – 2009
- The Equality Act – 2010
- Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) – 2010
- The Marrakesh Treaty – 2013
- European Union Web Accessibility Directive 2016 / 2102 – 2018
- European Accessibility Act – 2019
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons (1975)
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons was a pivotal document adopted in 1975, predating the more comprehensive UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). It emphasized the need for equal participation, rehabilitation, and non-discrimination for people with disabilities, setting the stage for later international efforts.
African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (1981)
Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)
The ADA, enacted in 1990, is a landmark U.S. legislation prohibiting discrimination against individuals with disabilities in various areas, including employment, public accommodations, and information communication technologies (ICT). It has significantly influenced global perspectives on disability rights and served as a model for subsequent legislation.
In accordance with the ADA, United States federal, state, and local government websites must be compliant with Section 508 regulations, which are based on W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. These guidelines are a part of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) and have varying degrees of compliance (Level A, Level AA, and Level AAA).
Although the ADA does not explicitly include legal standards for website accessibility owned by private businesses or non-profit organizations, Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination based on disabilities in the activities of places of public accommodation, which includes public websites. Therefore, Title III requires private business websites and non-profit websites to be accessible. Since Section 508 spells out website accessibility standards for government websites, these standards are best practice for private sector websites as well.
Inter-American Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (1999)
Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2001)
United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) (2006)
Charter on the Fundamental Rights of the European Union (2009)
The Equality Act (2010)
Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) (2010)
The Marrakesh Treaty (2013)
European Union Web Accessibility Directive (2016/2102) (2018)
This directive, adopted in 2016 and implemented in 2018, requires public sector websites and mobile applications in the EU to be accessible according to EN 301 549.
In the 2018 update, EN 301 549 adopted W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA standards as its baseline for compliance.
European Accessibility Act (2019)
The United States national laws and international laws surrounding website accessibility serves as a testament to the growing recognition of digital inclusivity as a fundamental human right.
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By choosing WebXd, you not only invest in a visually engaging and user-friendly website but also demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity and compliance with global accessibility regulations. In the ever-evolving digital landscape, WebXd stands as a reliable partner, bridging the gap between design innovation and the imperative of accessibility for all.