Universal Design Meets the Exit Sign Accessible Means of Egress Icon at hospital. Image shows two different green exit signs. The first has a person running to the right with an arrow pointing to the stairs, the second has the running man followed by a person using a wheelchair, moving in the same style as the running person, they are moving the left through a doorway.

Universal Design in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

In 2006, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted by the UN General Assembly. The convention has since been ratified by France, Germany, UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and many other countries.[1]

The convention aims to “promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by persons with disabilities.

Universal Design has also been defined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities:

“Universal design” with the means the design of products, environments, programmes and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. “Universal design” shall not exclude assistive devices for particular groups of persons with disabilities where this is needed.[2]

[1] United Nations, Convention and Optional Protocol Signatures and Ratifications, http://www.un.org/disabilities/countries.asp?navid=17&pid=166, viewed 27 August 2015

[2] United Nations, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,  http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/rights/convtexte.htm#optprotocol, viewed 19 August 2015

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Buildings need exit and emergency signs to identify parts of the accessible means of egress. An Accessible Exit Sign Project Initiative.

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