In total there are more than 3 million people with disabilities in the Netherlands. These can take various forms: for example, auditory disabilities (e.g. deafness or hearing impairment), visual impairments (e.g. blindness or low vision), chronic diseases (e.g. diabetes), mental vulnerability (e.g. depression or anxiety disorders) and physical impairments (e.g. paralysis).
BIJ1 stands for an inclusive society in which people with disabilities are structurally and fully part of our society. Unfortunately, this is not yet the case in the Netherlands. Dutch society is still too often designed for people without disabilities. As a result, people with disabilities have to adapt to this society, while this is not always possible. Everyone is part of society and society must therefore be adapted so that it is accessible to everyone.
INCLUSIVENESS INSTEAD OF SEGREGATION
Segregation plays a major role in the disadvantage of people with disabilities in the Netherlands. In this way, people with disabilities are kept out of society. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities endorses this. There are special forms of housing, special schools, special transport and special work, which means that mainstream society is not forced to adapt for people with disabilities. Regular public transport, regular housing, schools and other facilities are not accessible in this way. We want people with disabilities to be able to participate fully and contribute to mainstream society.
The Netherlands is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, so we have a duty to comply with it and to improve conditions. If this does not happen, we must impose sanctions if necessary.
In order to ensure an inclusive society for people with disabilities, we propose the following points.
ALIGNMENT OF LEGISLATION AND COMPLIANCE WITH EXISTING CONVENTIONS
- The Netherlands must be required to comply fully with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It must be possible to lodge complaints in the event of non-compliance.
- Sanctions will be imposed if there is no concrete legislation and/or policy to improve the position of people with disabilities, for example if buildings are built inaccessible.
RESEARCH AND LISTENING TO EXPERT BY EXPERIENCE FOR A BETTER POLICY
- When developing policy, room will be made for experts by experience and organisations consisting of experts by experience. Accessibility facilities will be arranged, such as a wheelchair accessible location and facilities for deaf or hard of hearing people.
- There will be examined how gender, ethnicity and sexuality affect the lives and well-being of people with disabilities so that economic and social policies can be made more effective and inclusive.
- There will be a study on the experiences of discrimination and treatment of people with disabilities. There will be concrete policies to combat this discrimination, for example by providing training on the principles and standards of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. These training courses will be given to government officials, judges and lawyers, architects, designers, educational staff and others involved in policy and support for people with disabilities. The regional Discrimination Hotlines will become more active in the field of this form of discrimination.
MEASURES TO MAKE SOCIETY MORE ACCESSIBLE
- All existing government buildings will be fully accessible wherever possible. New government buildings will be required to be fully accessible.
- All public toilets will be made accessible and free of charge.
- Drinking water will be available and accessible free of charge in the public space.
- Targeted budgets will be made available for municipalities to promote accessibility in public spaces. Examples are guide lanes at important and dangerous traffic points, the prevention of cycling on pavements and making streets and pavements more accessible.
- The national government, municipalities and transport operators must jointly take measures to improve the accessibility of public transport and target group transport. The renewed Accessibility to Public Transport Decree is the basis for this. The government will monitor compliance with this decree. Personal transport facilities for people with disabilities will be made possible. Tailor-made solutions will be made for people who cannot travel by public transport.
- The crossing time of traffic lights will become longer for people with a lower speed of movement. All traffic lights will be made user-friendly for visually impaired people.
- Dutch Sign Language will be recognized as an official language, so that people with an auditory disability receive recognition for their identity and language skills. The provision of a sign interpreter will therefore also be made compulsory.
- Information in the public domain will be made available in Braille.
- Letters from the authorities and important letters from bodies must be comprehensible to everyone.
- The media offer (in all variants) must be accessible to everyone.