New civil rights legislation is having its positive effect in the lives of individual citizens with disabilities in many countries. The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilties will continue the momentum.
There is a built-in limiting factor that will increasingly hamper such efforts. To their surprise those who are most likely to be the obstacle are those who have been involved in implementing the concrete changes mandated by the legislation.
Below is an article on accessibility features that have been added to Egmore railroad station in Chennai, India. In all retrofit situations such attempts at inclusion are marked out as "special" (stigamatized) if simply through the fact that they are obviously not part of the original design -- that the original design did not apply the seven principles of Universal Design.
What then often happens is a mentality of "protecting" the scarce resource (in ths case a ramp) from interlopers (in this case motorcyclists.
Instead of correctly seeing the widespread use of the human-centered correction to the previous poor design as a sign of success the paternal attitude of reserving a scarce resource for "those people" sets it. Rather than design for all resulting in full social participation by all what results is "special protection for the few." Note the comment by the engineer below who states:
There is also a special washroom with railings and low level sinks and commodes that is open to disabled people on request. "We do not want others to use it. The sad thing is that even the ramps are being used more by motorcyclists," said an official.
Who is this "we" that will not share what is good -- what is clearly better, in fact -- with citizens simply because they are not disabled? Yes, there are a limited number of ramps but the right question to ask is not "How do we protect the scarcity of proper accommodation?" but how do we eliminate the scarcity of proper accmmodation?
Who is the "we" that decides that inaccessibility will remain the norm so that "special" - and therefore scarce - accommodation needs a social caste who derives its sense of wellbeing from protecting that scarcity and "thise people" who depend on it? Cartainly, regardless of their disability status, they are not persons who uderstand the core values of disability culture: inclusion and interdependence.