SC order on accessibility at public buildings violated

Ajith Perera with the England cricket captain

A Supreme Court order issued last April on the right to accessibility to public buildings and places for the physically disabled, seniors or pregnant mothers, has not been fully implemented.

Ajith Perera, Chief Executive of IDIRIYA, an organization fighting for the rights of the disabled, said that most public places and buildings do not have facilities or proper access for the disabled.

Perera, who is also disabled, had petitioned and obtained a Supreme Court order last year which states that all parts of new public buildings and places, especially toilets and wash facilities, as defined in the accessibility regulations,  shall be designed and constructed in accordance with the design requirements specified in these regulations.

Under the court order it also became mandatory to design buildings, approve plans, certify completed buildings and issue a certificate of conformity.

Meanwhile the Human Rights Commission (HRC) said it recognizes there is Constitutional Protection to this Inherent Right to Accessibility of all Groups of people, senior citizens, pregnant Mothers and those affected with numerous debilitating medical conditions as well as the disabled, and thus legally falls into Fundamental Rights category.

Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, Justice Mr Priyantha Perera said that the HRC has begun to monitor the situation relating to the implementation of the regulation and the Supreme Court order on the right to accessibility.

The Human Rights Commission has now invited the public to notify the commission of any information relating to any violations of the Accessibility Regulations with respect to new public buildings and public places constructed after April 27, 2011.