Five years after the Netherlands ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, people with disabilities still face obstacles that prevent them from equally participating in Dutch society. These range from physical obstacles to conscious and unconscious exclusion, social and cultural planning office SCP said in a report on accessibility, Trouw reports.
The SCP collected data from a number of databases and conducted 38 interviews with people with disabilities. The researchers found that they still face plenty of obstacles. Physical obstacles include bicycles parked in the way, and inaccessible entrances to shops and cafes, especially in city centers. Social obstacles mentioned include shopkeepers refusing to put down a ramp, and separate places in movie theaters that prevent wheelchair users from sitting next to the people they came with.
People with disabilities often have to make extra preparations to participate. They also report sometimes being stared at in public spaces, or treated rudely. The respondents also complained about getting stuck in government bureaucracy when arranging things like transport or aids.
The result is that Dutch people with a moderate or severe disability less often visit places like the cinema, theater, museum, or attraction. About a quarter of people with a severe disability visit such places once a month, compared to half of people with a mild disability, or people with no disability.
According to the SCP, improvements in the area of the right to equal participation often fail because government policy to remove obstacles in daily life is non-committal.