In 2006 the UN declared that accessibility is a human right. However, countries interpreted and implemented the right inconsistently, resulting in different national approaches and making it difficult for people to contest accessibility issues through law.
Professor Anna Lawson has worked closely with disabled people’s organisations, researchers and others in over 35 countries to explore how accessibility law has been worded and applied. Her research showed inconsistencies in accessibility standards in different countries. Vague wording and a lack of enforcement measures meant that many people did not live in inclusive societies, despite a political commitment to accessibility.
The findings of this research helped establish the need for the European Accessibility Act, passed into EU law in 2019. This lays down consistent and enforceable accessibility standards across Europe for a wide range of goods and services. She contributed to good practice guidelines which were adopted by national, European and international bodies making recommendations to governments, about how to increase accessibility in more than 181 countries. Lawson’s commitment to the creation of a robust legal framework that can be applied internationally helps protect the rights of disabled citizens the world over. Her work has helped to make the world a more inclusive place.