A conference in Mexico includes audience members with and without disabilities
People with disabilities must have access to all aspects of political, civil, economic, social, and cultural life. There are many circumstances where people with disabilities encounter discrimination. Disability rights laws should address all of these circumstances, from obtaining healthcare to seeing a movie, from employment to housing, from the issuance of a driver’s license to airplane travel, because people with disabilities have the right to equal participation in every aspect of society.
This does not mean that there must be a single law that addresses every possible circumstance in which disabled citizens can encounter discrimination. People with disabilities in a particular country may decide to choose on a particular subject area or proposed law that would best serve as a strategic focus for the attention of lawmakers and the public. For example, a cross-disability community could choose to lobby first for accessibility in government buildings, or employment of people with disabilities, or accessible transportation. In addition, some countries may have existing laws, some of which address a particular issue like voting or people with particular kinds of disabilities, that are not disability rights laws but continue to serve a needed purpose.
In the U.S., some of the earliest national disability rights laws banned discrimination in government funded services and in public education. Specific states also had building laws that included disability accessibility requirements. The passage and implementation of these older laws contributed to the eventual development and passage of the far broader Americans with Disabilities Act, which deals with disability discrimination in both government and private businesses, in the areas of employment, transportation, physical accessibility, and telecommunications.