On Sunday, July 26, 2015, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) celebrated its 25th anniversary. The ADA passed with strong bipartisan support in 1990 and prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, including with respect to education and employment.
ARL has long supported the ADA and efforts to improve accessibility. People with visual or hearing impairments, for example, may face significant obstacles in attaining access to information or culture. Those with physical disabilities may face limitations in accessing physical spaces. The ADA helps promote greater accessibility and protect the rights of those with disabilities.
As the United States celebrates this landmark piece of legislation and the many successes that the ADA has produced, continued efforts are needed to promote the rights of those with disabilities. The US can do so by ratifying the Marrakesh Treaty, which would permit the cross-border exchange of accessible format works for those who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled. In order for the Marrakesh Treaty to enter into force, 20 countries must ratify or accede to the treaty. Currently, 10 countries—Argentina, El Salvador, India, Mali, Mexico, Mongolia, Paraguay, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay—have ratified and 10 more are needed.
The US signed the Marrakesh Treaty in October 2013, signaling support for and an intention to ratify the treaty, but the Obama Administration has not yet sent the treaty to the US Senate for ratification. The United States should show leadership and be one of the first 20 countries to ratify the treaty. While the ADA has been a great success and 25 years of ensuring the civil rights of those with disabilities is a moment for celebration, more can still be done to improve the lives of those with disabilities.
For more information about the Marrakesh Treaty, see the July 29 ARL Policy Notes blog post, “On the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, ARL Urges Swift Ratification of Marrakesh Treaty.”